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Yale settles wrongful death lawsuit for $3 million

December 5, 2016

By Luke Ciancarelli, Staff Reporter, Yale Daily News.

Yale will pay $3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Annie Le GRD ’13, a graduate student murdered in a Yale research laboratory in 2009.

The settlement amount was listed in a probate court document obtained by the Associated Press last Tuesday. Yale’s lawyers and Le’s family disclosed that the case had been settled through mediation in a court paper filed last week, but the original document did not list the settlement amount.

Filed in 2011 in Connecticut Superior Court by Le’s mother, Vivian Van Le, the lawsuit alleged that “sexual attacks on and harassment of women at Yale had been a well-documented and long-standing problem, and there was a widespread belief that Yale repeatedly failed to impose meaningful discipline on offenders.”

The lawsuit also alleged that Yale officials “did not investigate [Le’s] absence in earnest until the following morning” after she had been reported missing. It claimed that Yale knew or should have known that Le’s killer was a threat, saying that he had “previously demonstrated aggressive behavior and a violent propensity towards women.”

Le, a Placerville, California, native, was found dead on Sept. 13, 2009 in the basement of a building in the Yale School of Medicine, where she worked as a third-year doctoral student in pharmacology. Le’s body was discovered the day of her wedding and five days after she was reported missing. She was 24 at the time of her death.

Le’s murderer was an animal research technician and worked in the same building as her. He is currently serving a 44-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to the murder.

Yale officials denied that the University failed to adequately protect women on campus and said additional security in the lab building, which required keycard access, would not have prevented the crime committed against Le. The University, in a statement released after the lawsuit was filed, also argued that it had no information indicating that Le’s murderer was capable of “committing this terrible crime.”

The case was scheduled to go to trial last month in Waterbury, but was postponed. The lawsuit was withdrawn last week after both parties reached the settlement.

University spokesman Tom Conroy declined to comment on the settlement.

Correction, Nov. 28: A previous version of this article used an incorrect class designation for Annie Le. She is GRD ’13, not MED ’13.


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