Yeardley Love's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia (refers to the University of Virginia - pursuant to Virginia Tort Claims Act) , UVA men's lacrosse coach Dom Starsia, assistant coach Marc Van Arsdale, and athletics director Craig Littlepage. The lawsuit was filed in Louisa County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.
In Virginia, there is a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. The latest lawsuit comes on the two-year anniversary of the former UVA lacrosse player's death. Just last week, Yeardley's mother - Sharon Love - filed a $30 million civil lawsuit against George Huguely. He's the man who was convicted of murdering her daughter.
Tuesday Sharon filed a $29.4 million civil lawsuit, accusing the defendants of negligence and gross negligence in connection with Yeardley's death.
The lawsuit points to two of Huguely's past convictions including his 2008 arrest in Lexington, where a police officer had to use a Taser on him. The lawsuit says Huguely was never disciplined or removed from the lacrosse team even though he had to complete 50 hours of community service. They also cite five other incidents concerning Huguely's out of control behavior and issues with alcohol.
Sharon and Yeardley's sister - Lexie Love - are listed as beneficiaries in the court filing. They also indicate that a trial by jury is demanded.
Huguely, who was convicted of second-degree murder in Charlottesville Circuit Court in February, was on the UVA men's lacrosse team when both Starsia and Van Arsdale were coaches.
Late Thursday afternoon the state attorney general's office issued this response to the new civil suit:
"We are aware that suit has been filed, but, to date, the plaintiff has not sought to have it served on the commonwealth defendants. If it is served, we will vigorously defend the case. While we certainly recognize the terrible loss suffered by the Love family, that loss was not caused by the commonwealth or anyone employed at the University of Virginia."
NBC29 legal analyst Lloyd Snook says it could be tough for Love's lawyers to prove UVA had the legal burden of protecting its students.
"The way I look at it is this: In the Virginia Tech lawsuit the lawyers said, ‘hey, there's a statute that says Board of Visitors, administration, y'all are supposed to take care of the students.' That's part of why there's a special relationship at Virginia Tech, there is no such special relationship at the University of Virginia," he stated.
The Love family and their attorneys have declined to comment on the case. Attorneys for the Huguely family have also declined comment.
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