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Estates of Dr. Maria Ragland Davis and Dr. Adriel D. Johnson, Sr. v. Dr. Vistasp M. Karbhari, Dr. Amy Bishop and James Anderson. Represent families of two distinguished professors and respected individuals who were gunned down during a staff meeting by their colleague, Dr. Amy Bishop. The matter is in litigation before the Circuit Court of Madison County, Alabama.
Related news articles:
UAH IGNORED BEHAVIOR, THREATS FROM MASS SHOOTING SUSPECT
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - April 19, 2011 -- New filings by Douglas Fierberg and Allen Brinkley, attorneys for the families of Dr. Maria Ragland Davis and Dr. Adriel D. Johnson, Sr., detail knowledge by UAH Provost Vistasp Karbhari of Dr. Amy Bishop's psychological crisis and potential danger to others. "We expect the truth will come out," said Brinkley. "Amy Bishop was on her way to visit him [Karbhari], and he immediately called armed security and had his office ringed with armed security. That's our understanding of the facts." Click here
for the full article.
SURVIVING FAMILIES OF ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE MASSACRE FILE WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT AGAINST PROVOST AND OTHERS
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - WASHINGTON, D.C., January 14, 2011 -- The families of Dr. Maria Ragland Davis and Dr. Adriel D. Johnson, Sr., both of whom were brutally shot and killed during a staff meeting at the University of Alabama Huntsville on February 12, 2010, filed separate wrongful death lawsuits today, in the Circuit Court for Madison County in Huntsville, against Amy Bishop, James Anderson and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of University Alabama Huntsville, Dr. Vistasp M. Karbhari (case nos. 47-CV-2011-900037.00 and 47-CV-2011-900038.00, respectively). The suits seek to hold the UAH Provost responsible for the failure by him and likely other UAH administrators to abide by mandatory life-safety regulations that would have prevented Dr. Bishop from gunning down co-workers at a staff meeting. In addition to Dr. Karbhari, the lawsuit names Dr. Bishop and her husband, James Anderson.
The Davis and Johnson families are represented by Douglas Fierberg and Peter Grenier of Bode & Grenier LLP in Washington, D.C. and J. Allen Brinkley, of Brinkley and Chesnut in Huntsville. Mr. Fierberg and Mr. Grenier previously represented victims of the massacres at Virginia Tech University and Columbine High School, and were responsible for negotiating the historic settlement with the Commonwealth of Virginia following the violent incident on the Blacksburg, Virginia campus.
Concerning the lawsuit and his clients, Mr. Fierberg states, “There are clear parallels between this case and Saturday’s massacre in Arizona. We have learned from departmental emails that Dr. Bishop’s severe mental instability was known by administrators, some of whom she had threatened, harassed, and hounded following denial of tenure. The University of Alabama Huntsville Provost had clear obligations under UAH regulations, and standards adopted by universities nationwide following previous high-profile massacres, to obtain intervention by university police and counseling services in order to protect staff and students before Dr. Bishop was allowed into a staff meeting where she gunned down her colleagues.”
Fierberg continues, “It has also been documented that a colleague of Dr. Bishop openly described her as being ‘crazy,’ and students petitioned to have her removed from the classroom. The deaths of Dr. Davis and Dr. Johnson could have been prevented had UAH administrators simply followed mandatory life-safety regulations.”
Dr. Davis was a distinguished associate professor of biology at UAH. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and an M.S. degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. “Our family lost a loving wife and mother when Dr. Maria Ragland Davis was murdered by her mentally ill colleague at the University of Alabama in Huntsville,” said Sammie Lee Davis. “Nothing will ever bring her back. Today, we seek to bring to account those who are responsible for, and those who should have prevented, her death. We hope this action will help prevent future tragedies by educating the public on a university’s responsibilities when dealing with people under severe psychological distress.” Roderick Ragland, Dr. Maria Ragland Davis’s brother, said, “I hope that the lawsuit filed today will save others from suffering the loss of a family member in a campus tragedy that could, and should, have been prevented.”
Dr. Johnson, an associate professor of biological science, joined UAH in 1989. He earned a Ph.D. in animal science and nutritional physiology from North Carolina State University. He taught multiple biology courses at UAH for more than 20 years and during that time was a distinguished and honored faculty member as well as a dedicated UAH alumnus. Dr. Johnson was a leader in the efforts to increase the diversification of the faculty and student body at UAH, including serving as advisor for the Minority Graduate Student Association and Campus Director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. “In honoring Dr. Adriel D. Johnson, Sr.’s commitment to bettering the lives of others, we are today, filing suit against those who are responsible for, and should have prevented, his brutal death at the University of Alabama in Huntsville,” said Dr. Jacqueline U. Johnson, his surviving spouse. “We believe this action will further educate and heighten the awareness of the public on the need for universities to protect others by acting appropriately when confronted with students or staff experiencing severe psychological distress. We seek to enforce important legal standards that may prevent other families from suffering as we have.”
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