(BLOOMINGTON) - Part of the lawsuit against two men who were with missing IU student Lauren Spierer the night she disappeared will move forward.
Spierer, a then-20-year-old sophomore, has yet to be located following exhaustive searches the past two and a half years. She was last seen June 3, 2011.
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a ruling Monday denying part of a motion to dismiss by defendants Jason Rosenbaum and Corey Rossman
Lauren's parents, Rob and Charlene Spierer, allege in a complaint filed May 31 that Rosenbaum and Rossman abandoned "duty of care" for their daughter as they provided her with alcoholic beverages when she was already intoxicated. Two negligence counts remain against Rosenbaum and Rossman after they sought dismissal of the suit.
"This ruling confirms that our lawsuit has merit and that we are entitled to ask important questions of these defendants and other witnesses," Jeanine Kerridge, attorney for the Spierers, said in an email. "We have respected the defendants' rights to seek a dismissal and we now hope that the defendants will respect our right to full and complete discovery that our system of justice allows us to receive."
In the ruling filed Monday, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt upheld the motion by the defendants to dismiss one count of the Spierers' complaint brought under the Child Wrongful Death Statute and claiming "loss of a child's services." The judge said the count was dismissed because Spierers' parents alleged in their complaint that their daughter was an adult when she disappeared.
The judge will allow two other counts in the complaint to go forward, based on the Spierers' allegations that Jason Rosenbaum and Corey Rossman gave Lauren Spierer alcohol while knowing she was already intoxicated.
Those counts of the lawsuit accuse Rosenbaum and Rossman with "negligence per se" and "dram shop," a legal term used when damages are sought for providing alcohol to someone who is clearly intoxicated. The Indiana Dram Shop Act imposes liability on a person for any damages caused if that person knowingly provides alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated.
Earlier this month, the judge threw out the negligence lawsuit against a third individual, Michael Beth, who was also seen with Spierer the night she disappeared. In that ruling, Pratt agreed with the argument from Beth's lawyer that Beth wasn't liable just because he saw Spierer while she was intoxicated. Pratt also said Spierer had her own responsibility to take care of herself.
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