UC Berkeley Sued For Allowing Rampant Drug Use at Housing Cooperative

UC Berkeley law suit could reach millions for what the mother claims is an "anything goes" environment of illegal drug use.

Madelyn Bennett is suing University of California, Berkeley regents and the Berkeley Student Cooperative. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, she says they “knew of rampant drug abuse at the house but failed to protect the students.”

Her son, John Bennett Gibson, was a 21-year-old on March 18, 2010, when his roommate, not named in the suit, noticed that Gibson seemed to be having a bad dream at 9:00 a.m. They had taken illegal drugs the night before. About two hours later it appeared that Gibson wasn’t breathing.

The roommate performed “CPR on Gibson then moved him into another room and didn't call 911 until 1 p.m.” Gibson is currently severely brain damaged because “residents waited so long to get help, according to the suit.”

Cloyne Bennett says that the Berkeley Student Cooperative is responsible because they established house rules that “discouraged students from promptly calling police or paramedics.” Instead they had to seek permission from house leaders, and only make the calls as a “last resort.”

This "created a 'wild-west' environment at Cloyne, where residents believed that 'anything goes' and there would be no accountability for illegal drug trafficking or abuse," the suit states

Her son's care costs $300,000 a year, she said, and she decided to sue after unsuccessful efforts to get the Berkeley Student Cooperative's insurance company to pay for it.

Is UC Berkeley responsible for what happened to Cloyne Bennett's son?

dave blake February 25, 2012 at 04:15 AM
If the delay in getting the kid to the hospital seriously worsened the outcome, which seems very likely, and if the Cooperative had a stated policy discouraging residents from contacting city medical services in the event of an emergency, they're very likely on the hook. How much it was 'stated' will probably dispose the case. Not so sure UC, campus and regents, are on the hook.
Tanya Jo Miller February 25, 2012 at 04:36 AM
@ dave...I can't decide if you're a lawyer, journalist, or professional biker!
dave blake February 25, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Book designer. Lots of books, lots of fact checking, so I've know a lot about several unconnected subjects, but don't have depth in any one area, except typography.
Sports Guy February 26, 2012 at 09:41 AM
This will be a difficult case to win. It's obvious the University would not condone drug use.
Tanya Jo Miller February 27, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I guess the question is going to be did they actively discourage it...


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