Lawsuit filed against USC by parents of slain students in jeopardy
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed with USC that legal arguments made in a lawsuit by the parents of two Chinese graduate students slain off campus were insufficient but agreed to let them amend their wrongful death complaint rather than dismissing it.
In a preliminary ruling Tuesday, Judge Michael Johnson agreed with USC that the the plaintiff's theory that the university is responsible for areas beyond the campus is not supported in case law. The parents can amend their complaint, he said.
Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering students from China, were fatally shot April 11 while sitting in Qu's BMW in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue. Wu was found in the passenger seat; Qu stumbled to the steps of a nearby home and collapsed after an apparent robbery.
Wanzhi Qu and Xiahong Fei, Qu's parents, and Xuyong Wu and Meinan Yin, Wu's parents, filed the lawsuit against USC in a downtown Los Angeles court, seeking unspecific damages for the loss of their children.
The suit alleges that USC "provided no patrolling" in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred and persisted with the "clearly misleading" portrayal of safety even after the shooting.
"The judge sustained our demurrer," said Debra Wong Yang, who represents USC.
Yang said the judge agreed with the argument that the parents have not shown any evidence the university is responsible for off-campus crimes committed by people with no connection to the school.The parents' attorney, Alan Burton Newman, has 20 days to amend the complaint.
Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden, both 20 of South Los Angeles, have been charged with the killings during the commission of a robbery.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Ying Wu, left, and Ming Qu. Credit: KTLA-TV