Thursday, August 02, 2012

University of Colorado was on notice that Holmes was a threat


ABC Denver affiliate KMGH TV is reporting exclusively that the University psychiatrist treating Holmes had warned the "Threat Assessment Team" posed a danger to the University.

Dr. Lynne Fenton was treating Holmes and was a member of the Threat Assessment Team.  She brought Holmes to the attention of the team in June but they never acted on the information because shortly thereafter Holmes withdrew for the University.

From a legal perspective, this is a very big deal.  A person or company can't be held liable in tort unless they had notice that a danger existed.  If this story is accurate, we now know the University was on notice.

But notice alone isn't enough. 

Once the University had notice that Holmes was a threat, did they have a legal duty to warn others? It's not an easy legal question to answer and depends on Colorado law, issues of foreseeability of harm to others, etc.

 Legal obligations aside, did the University have a moral or ethical obligation to warn their community by contacting local police? And what about the Holmes family?  What if Holmes had returned to San Diego and killed his entire family while they slept?

The University is going to have a lot of explaining today.

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