A 20 year-old student at the University of Notre Dame was killed when the scissor lift he was perched on while videotaping the Fighting Irish football practice, toppled over during a period of high winds on October 27, 2010.
Declan Sullivan was on a hydraulic lift at a time when the National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 51 mph.
Given the facts, it is likely that state and federal workplace safety rules and industry standards were violated. Investigations by a variety of agancies are underway.
It is reported that Mr. Sullivan sent several "haunting" Tweets that appeared on his Facebook page just before his death, indicating his fear of the conditions he faced.
To the University's credit, on November 5, the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame President, sent an e-mail to students, faculty, staff and alumni, acknowledging responsibility for the death, because the school "failed to protect him".
Over years of practice, I have found that many lawsuits would or could be avoided, if only the party or parties involved would admit or acknowledge their responsibility for what happened.
After all, it is the right thing to do.