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Lauren Spierer’s parents sue 3 in daughter’s disappearance

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The parents of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer have asked the federal court in Indianapolis for a civil jury trial in a lawsuit against students believed to have last been with her before her disappearance two years ago.

Spierer was 20 years old when she disappeared in the early morning hours of June 3, 2011, after a night of drinking and partying in Bloomington. The suit claims that events preceding her disappearance included stops at Kilroy’s Sports Bar and at the apartments of defendants Corey Rossman, Jason Rosenbaum and Michael Beth.

The suit was filed by Barnes & Thornburgh LLP partner Jason Barclay. “Our goal here is just to get more information,” Barclay said Wednesday.

The complaint alleges that Rosenbaum allowed an intoxicated Spierer to leave his residence at 4:30 a.m. on the day of her disappearance. “Rosenbaum was the last known person with Spierer while she was alive,” according to the complaint in Spierer et al v. Rossman et al, 1:13-cv-991.

“Spierer’s abandonment in an intoxicated and disoriented state in the early morning hours of June 3, 2011 in an area known for criminal acts contributed to her disappearance, and presumed injuries and death,” the suit alleges.

The suit was transferred June 20 from Monroe Circuit Court to Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana after a notice of removal was filed by the defendants, who noted the amount in controversy is likely to be greater than $75,000 and defendants live in various states: Rossman in Massachusetts, Rosenbaum in Michigan and Beth in New Jersey.

High-profile defense attorneys James H. Voyles, Jennifer Lukemeyer and John Trimble are among five who have entered appearances for Rosenbaum. Contacted Wednesday, Voyles declined to comment and said court filings would speak for the defense.

Rossman is defended by Bloomington attorney Carl Salzman and Indianapolis attorney Richard R. Skiles. Beth’s attorneys are Joshua N. Taylor and James G. Garrison of Indianapolis.   

Just one count of three in the complaint names all three defendants: negligence resulting in the disappearance, death or injury of an adult child. That count argues that the three defendants owed a duty of care to Spierer that was violated by plying her with alcohol after she was intoxicated and failing to ensure her safe return to her apartment.

Two other counts name only Rosenbaum and Rossman: negligence per se under I.C. 7.1-5-10-15.5, and dram shop, both of which regard civil liability for supplying alcohol to an intoxicated person. The suit asks for damages and attorneys fees.

Barclay released the following statement issued through Barnes & Thornburgh:

“Rob and Charlene Spierer authorized the filing of this lawsuit with great reluctance and only after we counseled them that they would lose certain legal rights if not exercised by the two-year anniversary of Lauren’s disappearance. We hope no one will misinterpret this action. Any parent in search of information about a missing child would use every resource available to them. Therefore, we intend to use the rights afforded by the civil justice system to obtain answers to questions that have gone unanswered for too long. We fully expect that those with relevant information will cooperate with this process.”

No criminal charges have been filed related to Lauren Spierer’s disappearance.

 

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  1. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  2. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  3. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

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  5. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

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