This is my personal opinion as a non-involved lawyer in any of the law suits which followed in the wake of the shootings. Most of the families of the victims settled their law suits with the state for a total of eleven million dollars. In exchange for the settlement they gave up their right to sue state officials for their gross negligence. Apparently only the families of two murder victims refused to settle and filed suit.
But this is important: The amount that each family settled for was based upon the facts that were known to exist at the time of the settlement. Basically, the better the facts supporting your case, the more a potential lawsuit settles for, and the worse the facts, the less it settles for. Well, today it is reported in The Richmond Times Dispatch that the facts just got a whole lot better.
The “official” report on the Tech massacre has been revised to include shocking facts. Tech officials notified their own families of the beginning of the shooting spree “ninety minutes” before they bothered to begin warning the Tech students. Protect your own family, to hell with the students? Hell, pro football games are only 60 minutes long.
A top Tech official learned of the first killings “nearly two hours before the first notice was issued” to the student population at large. Two hours is a full length movie, complete with popcorn and ju-ju beans. I’ll warn the students, but let me watch “Lethal Weapon” first!
“Tech’s government affairs director ordered the university president’s office locked about a half-hour before the first notice was issued…” Protect the president, to hell with the students!
And lest some of you think that I am being too harsh, that nothing could have been done in time to protect the students, “Tech’s veterinary college locked down about 25 minutes before the first notice was issued.” So, protect some of the students, to hell with the rest?
Here is what is happening. Bob Hall, one of the best trial lawyers in Virginia, is handling the two cases that did not settle. And he and his crew are undoubtedly using all the means available during civil litigation to get at the true facts, not the white-washed facts that were set forth during the original, “Official” investigation. Hence the “revision.” You say “investigation,” I say “cover-up.” You say “revision”, I say, “caught in bold-faced lie, change it before you get accused of fraud!”
And this isn’t the first time that facts have come out that were “conveniently” (for the state, not so much for the families who settled their lawsuits) hidden. After Mr. Hall filed his two lawsuits, he found out that the shooter’s mental health counselor “accidentally” [according to his lawyer] removed his medical records of the counseling from the office to his home. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. How freaking convenient! These records were hidden away “accidentally” and only became available when an official “interrogatroy” from Mr. Hall smoked them out, over two years after the tragedy, and “conveniently” after the other families already settled their lawsuits.
Governor Kaine announced the “discovery” of the shooter’s records July 22, 2009. Mr. Hall filed his lawsuits sometime in April, 2009. But wait! The deadline for those who accepted settlements was apparently March 31, 2009, so those families didn’t have the benefit of knowing what was hidden away in those “inadvertently” stolen taken counseling records.
As Tracy Lane, mother of one of the slain students said back then, she wants to know “why it took two years for Miller to search for Cho’s files. “Why did it take a lawsuit to get him to look for them?” she asked.”
I’m not shocked. Lying and hiding evidence and covering up and white-washing occurs all the time after incidents occur that will likely give rise to civil litigation. I’m just thankful for great men such as Bob Hall who fearlessly root out the truth and hold people accountable.
From the Virginia Lawyers’ Weekly, Bob is “described on his firm’s bio page as a “litigator, pilot and author,” Hall has been practicing law for more than 40 years. He is a partner at Hall, Sickels, Frei & Mims. He served last year as president of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
“Also last year, Hall received the “War Horse” award by the Southern Trial Lawyers Association — an award reserved for a top courtroom advocate who also is considered “one of the true characters of his time.”
UPDATE Saturday, December 5th, 2009:
From the Times Dispatch, here is what our lying sack of shit Governor said about the “Amended” Report:
“A corrected report shows that the original investigative panel in the Virginia Tech massacre “did a really good job,” Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said today.”
“At a brief afternoon news conference, Kaine said “the report is a very thorough one.”
“The report was revised after questions were raised about the earlier investigation ordered by Kaine.”
“The revised report, called “Addendum”, concludes that police did not begin looking for a suspect in two earlier shootings until 40 minutes later than the original report concluded.”