Institute replies vacuously to Styke suit

Institute replies vacuouslyto Styke suit

On Tuesday, MIT submitted its response to Wolfe B. Styke G’s lawsuit. Styke is suing the Institute and Russell J. Novello for a total of $50,000 in negligence, resulting from the October 2007 incident where he was stabbed in his Next House dorm room by Anna L. Tang, who was a Wellesly student at the time. Novello was the security guard who provided Tang with a key to Styke’s room. Tang was found not guilty by reason of insanity late last year and is fully free as of early this year.

MIT offers several defenses including:

• Massachusetts law limits liability of charities to $20,000. MIT counts as a charity.

• Styke “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,” meaning that the suit is without merit.

• Styke’s claims may be partially barred by his own negligence (“contributory negligence”).

• MIT’s actions were not the cause of Styke’s injuries; they resulted solely from the actions of third parties.

• The suit is barred by statutes of limitations.

MIT also offers 14 points of answers to the 14 allegations in Styke’s complaint. In them, MIT denies all the allegations or classifies them as not requiring response, other than admitting its address and corporate status, admitting that Styke “was enrolled as a student at MIT and was assigned a room in a dormitory,” and admitting that Novello was an employee.

Novello does not appear to have filed a response to the suit according to the court’s electronic docket.

—John A. Hawkinson