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2 students harmed in shooting at MSU suing for 'gross negligence'


Two of the students who were wounded in the February shooting at Michigan State University are planning to sue the school, arguing the university was aware its buildings were unsafe and endangered students by failing to make them more secure.

Attorneys representing Troy Forbush and Nate Statly filed notices of intent on Monday indicating they plan to sue MSU for damages. The documents detail the “severe and permanent injuries” the two sustained when they were shot in a classroom on campus.

According to the filings, the shooter entered a classroom in Berkey Hall and shot Forbush in his left lung on Feb. 13. He was taken to Sparrow Hospital and required emergency surgery, and he "continues to struggle with extensive lung injuries."

The letters indicate Statly was shot in the head and has sustained major injuries to his head and brain. He is continuing to receive treatment at a hospital in Chicago.

Attorneys for the two students allege prior to the shooting, MSU had received complaints about "defective safety conditions" in buildings on campus.

They wrote the unsafe conditions included allowing public access in the evening, the lack of a locking system for classroom doors, offering no active shooter training for all students and poor temperature control in Berkey Hall that forced students and faculty to prop doors open.

The filings argue the school “acted with gross negligence” by failing to protect the campus community.

"The University's decision to ignore complaints...resulted in an unreasonably dangerous risk of injury," they wrote. "There is no rationale as to why Michigan State University chose to ignore complaints and failed to take any corrective action to remedy the defective conditions. To state otherwise would be to deny the country's present reality."

Under the Michigan Constitution, government agencies like a state university can be held liable for injuries if a public building is in “defective condition” and the agency was aware of issues and failed to address them.

In a statement, MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen said the school acknowledges how the incident has had a profound impact on community members.

"We are heartbroken and sorry for the tragic loss of life and each person harmed by senseless gun violence," Olsen said. "MSU has been engaged in conversations with the families of those we lost and those injured to identify ways to provide ongoing support, and we are committed to keeping those lines of communication open.”

Since the shooting, MSU has implemented keycard requirements to enter buildings and installed door locks among other security measures.

Copyright 2023 WKAR Public Media. To see more, visit WKAR Public Media.

Arjun Thakkar