Appeals court affirms decision to toss out lawsuit filed by parents of missing IU student Lauren Spierer
(Aug. 14, 2015) – A federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the parents of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer against the men she was last seen with on the night she disappeared.
Spierer vanished in June 2011 after a night of drinking and partying with friends in Bloomington. Her disappearance set off a massive search on the part of the community and her parents, Robert and Charlene Spierer. The Spierers have repeatedly asked her friends to step forward with any information they have about her disappearance, and went so far as to file a civil lawsuit in hopes the court would compel them to talk.
In October 2014, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt decided to toss out the lawsuit naming defendants Corey Rossman and Jason Rosenbaum. The Spierers claimed the men were negligent and failed in their “duty of care” to their daughter, knowing she was intoxicated while continuing to provide her with alcohol and failing to make sure she returned home safely. The federal appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision to throw out the lawsuit in a decision handed down Friday.
“We have found no decisions under Indiana law where persons were held liable for the actions of their social peers, absent additional factors not present here,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its decision.
“Because he was with Lauren the majority of the evening and bought drinks for her, Rossman was nearest to assuming a duty to care for her,” the ruling said. “But he also appears to have been intoxicated—so much so that it is questionable whether he could effectively take care of himself, still less another person.”
Charlene Spierer provided a statement to CBS4 about the decision.
“We are disappointed with the decision but not deterred. We continue our search for answers and justice for Lauren,” Spierer wrote.