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Attorneys call records request in Spierer lawsuit a ‘fishing expedition’

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(April 23, 2014) – Attorneys for two men named in a negligence lawsuit filed by the parents of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer accuse them of going on a “fishing expedition” for information in the case.

Robert and Charlene Spierer filed a negligence lawsuit in May 2013 naming Corey Rossman, Jay Rosenbaum and Mike Beth. A judge later dropped Beth from the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, Rossman and Rosenbaum failed in their “duty of care” and gave Lauren Spierer—who was underage and already intoxicated—alcohol.

They’re accused of negligence and dram shop—a legal term used in cases in which alcohol is given to a person who’s already drunk.

Spierer disappeared on June 3, 2011, after a night of partying with friends. Rossman and Rosenbaum were among the last people to see her.

Attorneys for the Spierers requested a long list of documents and records related to their daughter’s disappearance and those who were the last to see her. It includes phone records from AT&T and Verizon covering a 134-day span from just before her disappearance through the months that followed.

They want phone records from Rosenbaum, Rossman, Beth and Jesse Wolff—Spierer’s boyfriend at the tim—as well as Indiana University records for the students. Other requests include campus security footage before and after Spierer disappeared, IU documents about the case and “tips” submitted to IU.

Attorneys for the Spierers also want information from Kilroy’s Sports Bar, where Spierer had been drinking. She left her shoes and cellphone behind. They want access to leasing information from several of her friends and legal records from Carl Salzmann, one of Rossman’s attorneys. In addition, they seek security footage and records from the Smallwood Plaza Apartments where she lived.

Lawyers for Rossman and Rosenbaum say the requests should be denied. Attorney Stephanie Cassman, who represents Rosenbaum, wrote that the subpoenas for the records from AT&T, Verizon and IU “seek not only information irrelevant to this Dram Shop action, but information that the Defendant Rosenbaum has a legitimate expectation of privacy in and therefore such discovery requests should be quashed.”

“It is clear that this is nothing more than a fishing expedition,” Cassman wrote of the document requests. “Plaintiffs are clearly attempting to misuse federal subpoena power in this Dram Shop action to conduct a broad-based investigation into the disappearance of their daughter which is improper.”

Dane Mize, an attorney for Rossman, echoed those concerns.

The amount of information requested “makes it clear that they (the Spierers) are attempting to conduct their own independent investigation into the disappearance of Lauren Spierer using federal subpoena power under the guise of prosecuting a civil Dram Shop claim,” Mize wrote.

In January, the Spierer family asked for certain evidence in the case to be sealed, a request a judge eventually denied in a March ruling. The judge said the request by the Spierers was overbroad.