Monday, January 3, 2011

UCONN Sued Over Spring Weekend Death

Each year, the University of Connecticut's spring weekend draws thousands to its Storrs campus. Top artists like Kayne West and 50 Cent have performed concerts for delighted fans. It is a right of passage for many looking for a way to let off some steam after dueling with final exams. Some of the parties off campus have drawn over 10,000 people. Of course, when you add alcohol to the mix, it can lead to chaos.

If you are a Connecticut attorney, you may have experienced what I call the "Husky Bump". It's a time where I clear my schedule to prepare for the week following the UCONN spring weekend. Most of the trouble these kids get into is of the Will Ferrell Old School variety.  It is usually things like public urination, property destruction, or a variety of other alcohol related offenses. I've had students arrested for peeing on police cruisers, even stealing livestock. If you wander into the Rockville Court following the notorious weekend, you will undoubtedly see a myriad of sheepish faced young adults accompanied by weary parents. Just look for the kid in the khaki pants, tie and Justin Beiber haircut. They are good kids who just let the good times roll a little too much.

The weekend has also led to tragedy. Last year, twenty Year old UCONN student Jafar Karzoun suffered head injuries during a fight with 19 year old Edi Rap, a Manchester Community College Student. Karzoun would die from his injuries on May 1st.

Today, the Hartford Courant reports that the UCONN has been notified that the estate of Jafar Karzoun intends to sue the University for failure to protect him. West Haven Attorney Donald L. Altschuler represents the estate.  According to the Hartford Courant, Altschuler states that the "University of Connecticut supported and promoted Spring Weekend as a University sanctioned event, even though the University knew or should have known" that the state police and university police would be unable to handle the large number of participants "in a way to insure that UConn students such as Jafar Karzoun would be safe."  He goes further to allege that although Karzoun's alleged assailant was involved in criminal conduct earlier that day, both campus and state police failed to intercede.

UCONN has maintained that Spring Weekend is not a sanctioned university event and that most parties occur off campus. 

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