A Virginia Tech student who was killed after attending a Metallica concert in October 2009 should have been allowed back in the arena after she left the concert bloodied and disoriented, her parents argue in a negligence lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The suit seeks $3.5 million from the security company at the concert.
Morgan Harrington, 20, was last seen hitchhiking that night. Her remains were found about 10 miles away in a farm field in January 2010. Her killer remains at large.
The lawsuit, aimed at the company that provided security the night of the concert, was amended to include additional details the Harringtons and their attorney have gathered since it was first filed in Charlottesville Circuit Court in 2011. The Harringtons and their attorney, Lee Livingston, declined to discuss the new allegations beyond the new court filing and a statement.
Livingston said in the statement that the lawsuit is intended in part to increase public awareness of people clearly in distress.
“It isn't enough for young women like Morgan to be vigilant,” he said. “Occasions will arise when young women need others to attend to them and offer reasonable care to them.”
The lawsuit names Regional Marketing Concepts Inc., doing business as RMC Events Inc. It provided security at the Metallica concert Harrington attended at John Paul Jones Arena.
The company did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages left by The Associated Press. It has said in the past that the “no re-entry” policy that kept Harrington from returning to the show is common practice.
The Harringtons' lawsuit, however, contends that the policy wasn't always followed and that RMC staff had tended to an off-duty police officer who was intoxicated at the concert, arranging for a taxi for the officer.
Harrington's injuries had been cited in lawsuit's initial filing, but the latest account provides more detail. It claims Harrington left her friends at the concert to go to a restroom in the arena and “suffered a serious head injury was rendered unable to take care of herself.”
The cause of the injury -- a 2- to 3-inch cut on her chin -- was not explained. A bystander who assisted Harrington said she was “acting erratically” but did not detect an odor of alcohol.
The lawsuit does not explain why Harrington left the arena. But when she attempted to return, RMC staff “barred her from a place of safety where medical attention could have been provided and where her friends could have assisted her.”
The lawsuit also listed dozens of assaults that had occurred within a half-mile of the arena in recent years, arguing that RMC “knew or should have known that a number of criminal assaultive acts” in the past put Harrington at risk.
Dan and Gil Harrington, who have led a high-profile campaign to find their daughter's killer, are seeking a trial by jury in the negligence suit. The Harringtons live in Roanoke.