Harrington suit, tuition hikes, and courts at capacity: News briefs

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The parents of slain Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who disappeared from a concert at John Paul Jones arena in 2009, have added claims to a $3.9 million civil suit against a stadium security firm. Photo: Ashley Twiggs. The parents of slain Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who disappeared from a concert at John Paul Jones arena in 2009, have added claims to a $3.9 million civil suit against a stadium security firm. Photo: Ashley Twiggs.

Check c-ville.com daily and pick up a copy of the paper Tuesday to for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve had an eye on for the past week.

Harrington family amends civil suit 

More than three years after 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington’s body was found on an Albemarle County farm after she vanished from a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena, her parents have amended a $3.9 million civil lawsuit against arena security firm Regional Marketing Concepts, Inc. (RMC) for negligence the night their daughter went missing.

According to news reports, the suit names a new witness, who reported Harrington was acting erratically, had suffered a gash on her chin, and was in obvious distress when she asked to be let back into the venue after leaving. According to the suit, the “RMC staff could see Morgan was incapacitated.”

The Harrington family argues that RMC neglected to provide reasonable care to debilitated patrons, and violated previously established protocol by not allowing Morgan to re-enter the arena.

A hearing has been scheduled for April 18 at 11am in Charlottesville Circuit Court.

UVA faces tuition hikes to compensate for lack of state funding 

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and her staff recently released a four-year financial plan calling for an up to 3.5 percent tuition hike to compensate for declining state funding, the Cavalier Daily reported.

UVA received $8,346 per in-state student from the Commonwealth in fiscal year 2012, a number that falls short of peer institutions like the University of Maryland, which received $17,494 per in-state pupil, and the University of North Carolina at $22,105. The University’s undergraduate tuition and fees rate this year is $12,216, and the financial plan projects that tuition will need to rise between 2.5 and 3.5 percent per year for the next four years. A 3.5 percent increase from current rates would be an additional $428.

The Board of Visitors will review the financial plan in May.

Court crunch could be costly for county

Albemarle County is weighing options as it makes plans to relocate its General District Court from its historic but too-small home to a new, larger location, but where the court complex will end up and how much the move will cost are still not clear, according to a report in The Daily Progress.

The court is already over capacity, officials agreed last week, and the problem will only get worse as the county grows in the coming decades. A study commissioned by the Board of Supervisors offered two solutions: move to the city- and county-owned Levy Opera House across the street, or build a new courthouse on county land. At $44-$54 million, the retrofit would be more costly than a new facility, which would cost about $39 million, according to the report.

County staff favors a new build, but court employees want to stay Downtown and called a major move impractical, the Progress reported. The Board of Supervisors will take up the matter in a work session soon, but the process may take years, according to a county staffer.

Second Tom Tom festival just around the corner 

The Batten Institute at UVA’s Darden School of Business will kick off the second annual Tom Tom Founders Festival with a crowd-funded pitch night at the iLab on Thursday, April 11. Admission is $10 per person, which buys entry and a vote toward your favorite of 10 proposed ideas that need funding.

The festival will continue through Sunday, April 14, with a Downtown block party, art exhibits and contests, discussion panels, concerts, film screenings, and more. The music lineup for the four-day festival includes David Wax Museum, Terri Allard, J Willz, Black Twig Pickers, and Klezmer Ensemble.

For a complete schedule of events, check out tomtomfest.com.

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