Judge approves settlement in Virginia Tech massacre

RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline)-A judge on Tuesday approved an $11 million settlement with families of most of the victims in last year's campus shootings at Virginia Tech, the state attorney general's office announced.

The families of 24 victims who were killed by Seung-Hui Cho will be compensated under the settlement approved by Circuit Court Judge Theodore Markow.

Four families agreed to the settlement, but did not appear before the judge Tuesday. Four other families did not participate in the settlement. Of those families, two have filed lawsuits and the other two did not file claims.

The settlement also covers 18 people injured in the April 16, 2007, incident, when 32 students and teachers were killed and dozens of others were injured at the Blacksburg, Va, school.

Seriously injured victims will have their health care needs covered for life. Representatives of each of those killed will receive $100,000, under the agreement, which also calls for the creation of a $1.9 million hardship fund for families.

Since the state is self-insured, the settlement will be paid with taxpayer money.

"We are professionals and we represent the commonwealth's interests to the best of our abilities," Chief Deputy Attorney General William Mims said. "But first we are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, neighbors and friends. We cannot possibly imagine the losses they've suffered."

By accepting the settlement, family members gave up the right to sue the state, the university and the local government agencies serving the university.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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