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The Firm Files Suit on Behalf of Surviving Families of Alabama Huntsville Massacre


HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - WASHINGTON, D.C., January 14, 2011 -- The families of Dr. Maria Ragland Davis and Dr. Adriel D. Johnson, Sr., both of whom were murdered during a staff meeting at the University of Alabama Huntsville on February 12, 2010, filed separate wrongful death lawsuits today against Amy Bishop, James Anderson and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of University Alabama Huntsville, Dr. Vistasp M. Kharbari. The suits seek to hold the UAH Provost responsible for the failure by him and likely other UAH administrators to abide by mandatory life-safety regulations that would have prevented Dr. Bishop from gunning down co-workers at a staff meeting. In addition to Dr. Karbhari, the lawsuit names Dr. Bishop and her husband, James Anderson.

The Davis and Johnson families are represented by the Firm in Washington, D.C. and J. Allen Brinkley, of Brinkley and Chesnut in Huntsville.  The Firm previously represented victims of the massacres at Virginia Tech University and Columbine High School, and were responsible for negotiating the historic settlement with the Commonwealth of Virginia following the violent incident on the Blacksburg, Virginia campus.

Concerning the lawsuit and his clients, Mr. Fierberg states, “There are clear parallels between this case and Saturday’s massacre in Arizona. Dr. Bishop’s severe mental instability was known by administrators, some of whom she had threatened, harassed, and hounded following denial of tenure. The University of Alabama Huntsville Provost had clear obligations under UAH regulations, and standards adopted by universities nationwide following previous high-profile massacres, to obtain intervention by university police and counseling services in order to protect staff and students before Dr. Bishop was allowed into a staff meeting where she gunned down her colleagues.

Fierberg continues, “A colleague of Dr. Bishop openly described her as being “crazy,” and students petitioned to have her removed from the classroom. The deaths of Dr. Davis and Dr. Johnson could have been prevented had UAH administrators simply followed mandatory life-safety regulations.”

Dr. Davis was a distinguished associate professor of biology at UAH. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and an M.S. degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Johnson joined UAH in 1989 as an associate professor of biological science. He earned a Ph.D. in animal science and nutritional physiology from North Carolina State University. He taught multiple biology courses at UAH for more than 20 years and during that time was a distinguished and honored faculty member as well as a dedicated UAH alumnus. Dr. Johnson was a leader in the efforts to increase the diversification of the faculty and student body at UAH, including serving as advisor for the Minority Graduate Student Association and Campus Director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

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