Saturday, February 7, 2015

Alumnus to Pay Cornell $125K in Taxes Following Lawsuit.

Federal Judge Lynne A. Sitarski recommended the court increase the amount that Randall Duchesneau ’09, the losing plaintiff in a negligence case against Cornell, owes in taxes to the University, according to court documents. The court originally awarded Cornell $104,000 in May, but this amount was increased to $125,000 last week.

Duchesneau became confined to a wheelchair at the age of 21 when, on Oct. 12, 2006, he botched an attempt to perform a standing backflip at the Teagle Hall Gymnas­ium. Then a member of the Cornell Gymnastics Club, he suffered permanent spinal injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic.

After his accident, Duches­neau filed a $75 million negligence lawsuit against Cornell but was ultimately denied compensatory damages after a jury determined that the Uni­versity was not legally responsible for the accident. After Duchesneau filed to retry the case, a federal judge denied the motion to appeal the verdict in early 2013.



  1. Paying "taxes" to Cornell...

    I'm very confused. Not sure I'm understanding this case. Is Cornell, like, a local government now? And is this what happens when one sues a local government? Or is this what happens when one sues an entity who sleeps with politicians?

    1. I wondered about that, too. My best guess, after looking at the story, is that "tax" has a particular meaning in this legal context -- basically, something along the lines of holding one party responsible through payment for some portion of the costs of the litigation -- and that the headline-writer picked up that language without, perhaps, fully understanding its meaning/use (which would put the headline-writer and me in the same boat; the only difference is that I don't think I would have used the word in the headline).

      Maybe the disaffected law grad that Strelnikov periodically references can come over and explain it to us.


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