July 15, 2014
The civil lawsuit filed by the family of Morgan Harrington against Regional Marketing Concepts, Inc (RMC) will move forward in Charlottesville Circuit Court.
In his decision filed Tuesday, Judge Jay Swett wrote there may have been negligence on RMC's part "when it was obvious to RMC employees that she (Morgan) was injured and incapacitated".
According to court documents, Morgan Harrington had a bloody two-to three -inch laceration on her chin, and appeared very disoriented when RMC security employees refused to let her re-enter John Paul Jones Arena during a Metallica concert in October of 2009. The 20-year-old Virginia Tech student was last seen hitchhiking on Copeley Road bridge that night. Her body was found several months later on Anchorage Farm in Albemarle County.
No suspects have been arrested in connection to her murder. The Harringtons filed the civil suit against RMC in March of 2013, asking for $3.9 million in damages.
In his decision, Swett threw out the portion of the lawsuit that accused RMC of breaching its contract and for being negligent for not warning or protecting Harrington from criminal behavior.
Harrington's mother disagrees with that portion of the decision. "Morgan paid for a ticket in the arena," Gil Harrington said when reached by phone Tuesday evening. "Morgan paid for a parking space. I believe that entitles her to some degree of security in that arena and parking lot."
Both sides have time to respond to the judge's decision before the lawsuit moves forward for trial. Morgan's mother says this lawsuit is not about the money, but about improving security.
"Morgan is dead," she said. "It's too late for Morgan, but we need to up the game so that whatever ball was dropped and whatever weakness in the system was there is corrected, so at another concert there is a network of safety to protect women."