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MIT sued, denies liability in death of Elizabeth Shin

The parents of Elizabeth Shin filed a wrongful death civil suit in Middlesex Superior Court against MIT on Jan. 28.

The $27 million suit alleges breach of contract, medical malpractice and negligence on the part of MIT psychiatrists, Student Life staff and Campus Police, who are also named in the suit.

Cho Hyun Shin and Kisuk Shin of Livingston, N.J., allege through their lawyer, David A. DeLuca, that MIT was negligent in the death of their daughter, a sophomore who died April 14, 2000, four days after apparently setting herself on fire.

At a press conference in his office Monday, DeLuca said, "The tragic loss of Elizabeth Shin is MIT's failure--the failure of MIT medical professionals to diagnose, treat and coordinate Elizabeth's mental health care."

Jeffrey Swope of the law firm of Palmer & Dodge, counsel for MIT, issued the following statement:

"The death of Elizabeth Shin was a tragedy--for this bright young woman, her family and friends, and all those at MIT who tried to help her. But it was not the fault of MIT or anyone who works at MIT. According to information provided by the family's own lawyer, she had suffered from serious emotional problems that began at least as early as high school.

"Many people at MIT had offered as much help and support as they could to her. While MIT regrets the need to do so, it will defend against the claims that have been brought against it and the members of its community who had tried to help her," Swope said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 30, 2002.

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