Sharon Love Filed a Wrongful Death Suit Against Three UVA Athletic Officials

The mother of slain University of Virgnia lacrosse star Yeardley Love is suing the coaches of the men’s lacrosse team for ignoring George Huguely’s assaults on other students, including another female student.

The $30 million wrongful death suit implies that the coaches overlooked Huguely’s menacing behavior because he was a star on their nationally ranked lacrosse team.

The suit also names UVA, the university’s athletic director and the state of Virginia as defendants.

Huguely, 25, killed Love, 22, in a drunken rage in May 2010 just weeks before she was to graduate. Both Huguely and Love were star lacrosse players on the university’s elite teams.

Huguely was found guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny. He has not yet been sentenced.

The suit was filed in the Circuit Court for the County of Louisa in Virginia on Tuesday under the name of Love’s mother Sharon Love, listed as the administrator of her daughter’s estate.

Love asks for $29,450,000 in compensatory damages, plus interest. She filed a similar lawsuit last week against Huguely for $30 million.

The defendants named include men’s lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia, associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale and UVA director of athletics Craig Littlepage.

“It was well known to the players and coaches on the UVA men’s and women’s lacrosse teams that Huguely’s alcohol abuse and erratic, aggressive behavior was increasingly getting out of control, especially his obsession with Love and his aggressiveness and threats to Love,” the lawsuit states.

The coaches and director are charged with three counts of negligence and gross negligence for not disciplining Huguely after several attacks on fellow students.

The lawsuit alleges that no action was taken “to discipline Huguely, to suspend or remove Huguely from the lacrosse team, to refer Huguely for treatment or counseling for alcohol/substance abuse or anger/aggressive behavior management, or to subsequently report Huguely’s potential risk of violence pursuant to the UVA Policy on Preventing and Addressing Threats or Acts of Violence.”

The suit also implies that Huguely received preferential treatment for being a star athlete when it points out that in May 2009, another varsity lacrosse player “who sparingly played” was arrested for a DUI and was suspended from the team. Huguely was not suspended for his multiple similar offenses.

“UVA and its employees, officers, and agents had a duty to protect and keep its students safe,” the suit states saying that the school and its officials acted with “reckless disregard” and “reckless indifference” in handling the matter.

Since the coaches had “special relationships” with Huguely, it was their duty to protect UVA students from risk of harm by Huguely, including Love, the suit states. The suit lists three run-ins with the law Huguely was involved in before attacking Love.

In 2007, he was charged and convicted of possession of alcohol by a minor. In 2008, he was charged and later convicted of public intoxication and resisting arrest in an incident where he became violent with a female police officer. And in 2009, an intoxicated Huguely “viciously attacked a fellow varsity lacrosse team member” when he found the teammate had been seen with Love, who was his girlfriend at the time.

The suit also describes an incident in which Huguely allegedly attacked another female UVA student, “whom Huguely accused of telling her father, Huguely’s former high school lacrosse coach, about his chronic intoxication and rage, and a physical attack on a UVA varsity tennis player who was walking with Love on a street on or near UVA’s campus.”

“The University does not comment on legal proceedings,” Carol Wood, associate vice president and UVA spokeswoman, told in an email.

The state vows it will “vigorously defend” the case.

“We are aware that suit has been filed, but, to date, the plaintiff has not sought to have it served on the commonwealth defendants,” Brian J. Gottstein, director of communication for the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, told in an email.

Over 10 days in court, jurors listened to testimony from nearly 60 witnesses and saw a video of Huguely’s police statement, graphic photos of Love’s battered body, and read text and email correspondence between the two.

Neither the prosecution nor the defense denied that Huguely was in Love’s room the night of her death and was involved in an altercation with her. They differed on the severity of the encounter and whether Huguely was directly and intentionally responsible for Love’s death.

Huguely’s attorneys Fran Lawrence and Rhonda Quagliana did not immediately respond to requests for comment from regarding the lawsuit. The defense team has expressed their desire for a retrial in court.

In February, the jury recommended 25 years in prison for the second-degree murder conviction and one year for a grand larceny conviction. The judge can either confirm or lessen the sentence, but he cannot increase it. Huguely’s sentencing date has been set for Aug. 30.

Click Here to Contact Us Today