A Suicide Lawsuit for Cornell

Apparently Howard Ginsburg, the father of a Cornell freshman who killed himself by jumping off a bridge in the fall of 2010, is suing the school for $180 million. According to an article in the Ithaca Journal:

Howard Ginsburg of Boca Raton, Fla., filed the suit seeking $12 million on each of 14 causes of action in federal court Monday. Bradley Marc Ginsburg jumped to his death from the bridge into the gorge on Feb. 17, 2010, the suit said.

The suit said there were 29 attempted suicides from the bridges from 1990 to 2010, 27 successful, and that due to their public nature, the Cornell campus area “became known as an iconic spot for ending one’s life.” Cornell did not publicize and notify parents of at least three student suicides in fall 2009, thereby substituting its judgment for parent involvement, which could have led to parents conducting a “mental health check” of their students, the suit alleges.

Right, because apparently the fact that Bradley Ginsburg went to a school noted for its suicide problem and the suicides were reported extensively in the media weren’t notice enough.

According to a piece by Peter Franceschina in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Howard Ginsburg “now realizes his son slipped into depression and impulsively took his life. If there had been safety barriers or nets on the bridges, that impulse would have passed, Ginsburg said.”

I sort of question Ginsburg’s ability to perform an effective “mental health check” on his son; people tend not to commit suicide on a whim.

Cornell expects the lawsuit to be dismissed.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer