Will The Public Pay For Lawsuits Against Penn State?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some legal experts say the Penn State scandal could end up costing the university up to $100 million from civil lawsuits that almost certainly will be filed by the abuse victims.

A spokesman for Penn State says the university does carry liability insurance, but couldn’t say what the limit of damages is.

Will the public through tax dollars or students through tuition end up paying for the lawsuits?

Local personal injury attorneys have no doubt that Penn State has liability in the sex abuse cases.

“I think they have nothing but liability in this case,” Alan Perer, a personal injury attorney, said. “It’s a clear cut case of a cover up and concealment.”

Perer says it’s hard to estimate what the scandal will end up costing Penn State because all the victims may not have come forward yet, but it’ll be a lot.

“I mean we’re talking multi-million dollars in my opinion for each victim,” he estimated.

Where will that money come from?

Penn State receives hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money from the state budget.

Earlier this year, when the state cut funding by $68 million, Penn State raised tuition 4.9 percent, about $700 more per student.

Could this scandal affect tuition? John Gismondi, a local personal injury attorney, hopes not.

“I would be very surprised if under any circumstances the school would try to recoup anything they would pay on the backs of students,” he said. “I mean, I think that would be a horrible precedent from a public relations standpoint.”

Gismondi thinks if Penn State trustees are listening to public reaction, the best thing they can do is to settle the cases out of court quickly.

“I think emotion and public reaction is a major factor in this because it’s a barometer of how a jury would look at these cases were they to come and be presented in court,” he said.


PHOTO GALLERY: Chaos On Campus After PSU Fires JoePa
VIDEO: Interim Coach Tom Bradley (11/10)
VIDEO: Joe Paterno Speaks After Firing (11/9)
VIDEO: Board of Trustees News Conference (11/9)
VIDEO: Watch The Attorney General’s News Conference (11/7)
STORY: Gov. Corbett Asks Penn State Students To Show Restraint
STORY: Bradley Takes Interim Coaching Job “With Mixed Emotions”
LINK: More On The Penn State Scandal

WARNING Contains Graphic Material: Read The Entire Grand Jury Presentment
AG, PSP Commissioner Statements: Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
LINK: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
LINK: Penn State Nittany Lions


One Comment

  1. Critter says:

    lets raise taxes. right, sissy democrats?

  2. Sky says:

    No Righty ! Lets charge the College and the pigs involved , it’s called restitution , every other criminal has to pay it and so should Penn State for not protecting anyone in any of their programs or in their university , than charge the pigs involved of the actual raping and the ones who knew about it and did NOTHING , than : let the children who are now grown men sue the pigs and the university for every penny they have ! Things like this is why we have dysfuctional , angery , drug addicts People , it comes about from pigs like Penn Stae Employees raping children and other other pigs not reporting it . All Penn Staet Employees involved ,ought to all be given the death sentence , Turning your head in a murder and letting it happen without trying to stop it or call for help gets you a death sentence too , and basically they have murdered these men who were boys at the time of their rapes . Their human spirit has been murdered ! I can imagine how their parents feel knowing they sent their children somewhere to get help and to find out that a huge cover-up involving their sons being raped with onlookers watching and not helping happened instead , I bet these same parents and their children were and are called, angery , depressed ,anti- social , paranoind , bi-polar, on and on~~~~~~ because that’s how our law and so called professionals blow them off when they try to report things like this !

  3. swin says:

    As I see it Sandusky committed a crime and 5 men knew about it. Therefore 6 men are responsible and are subject to criminal charges and civil liabilities. The university can not be held responsible unless:
    1. They were aware of the crime, the ‘they’ being the board of directors.
    2. They aided and abetted the criminal activity.
    3. They created conditions under which the criminal activity was encouraged.

    I’m not a lawyer but as I see it the liability stops with the men who either committed the crime or knew about it and did nothing about it. If you worked for Giant Eagle and during your break you slipped out and robbed the Dollar Bank across the street, is Giant Eagle responsible?

    Let’s be careful not to go off willy nilly here and start to blame everybody out of anger. The school is not automatically to blame just because a crime happened on their property.

    One more point – let’s not forget that Penn State is NOT owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They only have an agreement, like Pitt, regarding tuition rates that will be charged resident students. And as with Pitt, the state gives the school aid but the state does not own the institution.

    The only schools owned by the state are the 14 universities in the state system, including Indiana University, Slippery Rock, California, etc.

    Maybe it’s time to end these weird state and university relationships. If the state should give aid to students then maybe it should go directly to the student and the amount should be based on whether the student stays in state or not.

    Think about it – when Pitt went state related back in 1967, they ended up buying up most of Oakland and tuition rates have not been held in check. I don’t think this was ever the intent of the relationship. Or was it?

  4. swin says:

    “””Local personal injury attorneys have no doubt that Penn State has liability in the sex abuse cases.

    “I think they have nothing but liability in this case,” Alan Perer, a personal injury attorney, said. “It’s a clear cut case of a cover up and concealment.” “””

    Now just what would you expect these ambulance chasers to say? One man committed the crime and five men concealed it. Tell me how does this automatically make the university as a whole at fault.

    This is a typical lawyer response – sue anybody you can. Even if they are not liable or not guilty of anything, they risk losing so much that they will probably settle.

    This is why we need judicial reform in this country – if you sue another person and you lose, YOU have to pay all their legal fees and expenses as a result.

    What is the definition of an oxymoron? Answer – an ethical lawyer.

  5. Mike says:

    Lawsuits are coming folks! The only problem is the students, parents, tax payer’s will end up paying for this mess.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live