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.