Mom Sues Over Son’s Overdose At UC Berkeley Co-Op

BERKELEY (CBS / AP) — The mother of a University of California, Berkeley student who suffered severe brain damage after a drug overdose on campus is suing the UC regents.

Madelyn Bennett said they knew about rampant drug use at the residence where her son overdosed, but did nothing to stop it. She filed her suit on Thursday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that her son, John Bennett Gibson, was a 21-year-old junior when he overdosed at the Cloyne Court co-op in March 2010.

UC owns the co-op.

The suit also names the Berkeley Student Cooperative, claiming it established rules for the co-op that discouraged students from calling authorities when her son was found in distress.

The regents did not respond to requests for comment.

According to the Chronicle, lawyers for the Berkeley Student Cooperative were unavailable.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • roy

    blame the university for a grown man’s poor choice of recreational activities?

    come on!

  • Nayeli Ayala

    Take responsibility for your own actions!

  • Dale N

    couldnt be her pwecious widdle baby’s fault, it MUST be the fault of … ohh all those people out there she can SUE

  • Lisa

    I remember when it was mostly Barrington Hall that had obvious drug problems. Does “Pink Cloud” still crash there? If the co-op discouraged calling 911 then the mom might have a case. Surprising that current Berkeley students wouldn’t be more focused on school and career.

    • DirkaDirka

      No, she does not have a case. Just because people are two stupid or too paranoid to call for medical assistance does not make a case against the University.

      • L. Bollman

        If, for some reason, the co-op admin. had laid down rules about calling 911 that misled kids, then I think she might have a case against them. Otherwise, I agree that the kids themselves are responsible. It is common knowledge that this is a risky time because the kids are on their own, but often are not mature enough to make the right decision all of the time.

  • mike

    The mom had at least 18 years of influence on this issue, yet he still did it. Its not the UC or the school’s duty to make sure that he stopped using. Besides, they might even get hit with a complaint about “being to nosey” There is just no satisfying these people. THIS MOM SHOULD NOT GET ANYTHING BECAUSE SHE IS JUST LOOKING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HER SON’S DEATH.

  • mike

    This suit deserves to be thrown out.

  • JaneQPublic

    I agree with part of this lawsuit – the Berkeley Student Cooperative ABSOLUTELY bears some responsibility here for its policy which discouraged timely calling for help in response to the medical emergency. ALSO Cloyne Court Co-op in particular should be put out of business. CLOSE IT DOWN!!

  • Barbara Blaser

    While I iimagine the pain these parents are enduring is unbearable this was an adult making a choice to use drugs. The lawyer said in 2009 his room door said “lab”….There was 3 years to change rooms…sorry but I don’t feel the university was responsible. Good people make bad decisions every day.

  • Lou Sylvestri

    Where do they come from???????

  • StevenTorrey

    Sounds like Berkeley Student Co-operative deserves to be sued for encouraging drug use and a cynical disregard for needed medical intervention. So many decent people are rejected for college, while this Co-op thinks drug usage should be a ‘right of passage.’ Sue them individually as well as collectively.

  • Chuck Sherman Jr

    Drugs in Berkeley??? Who’d a thunk???

  • MeA

    The reason why there was such delay in calling 911 was because the kids didn’t want to get in trouble. Hello!!! And if a kid wants to do drugs he will find a way no matter what rules on in place. It is a sad story but the Co-op should not have to pay for the parent’s lack of good parenting for 18 years and a adult’s mistake.

  • Milan Moravec

    UC Berkeley (UCB) pulls back access and affordability to instate Californians. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau displaces Californians qualified for public Cal. with a $50,600 payment from born abroad foreign and out of state affluent students. And, foreign and out of state tuition is subsidized in the guise of diversity while instate tuition/fees are doubled.

    UCB is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 foreign students and displaces qualified instate Californians (When depreciation of Calif. funded assets are included (as they should be), out of state and foreign tuition is more than $100,000 + and does NOT subsidize instate tuition). Like Coaches, Chancellors Who Do Not Measure-Up Must Go.

    More recently, Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police deployed violent baton jabs on Cal. students protesting Birgeneau’s tuition increases. The sky will not fall when Birgeneau and his $450,000 salary are ousted. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents

    • Lisa

      This has bothered me for a long time. My kids did not qualify for UCB, and they would have been the third generation to go.

  • my real name is Sam Mallory

    If these rules were really implemented then they would have known about them. Bad decision on the the brain damage victim. Feel bad for the mother….now she will lead a vendetta over drugs and personal rights. Over zealous mother -1

  • Chris Verich

    When you have a white-trash mother like Madely Bennett, it is not surprising that she looks to cash in on her veggie son’s coma. Blame everybody except the moronic parents who raised this LOSER. Hope U.C. Berkeley fights this baseless suit tooth and nail. Who’s the ambulance chaser representing that white-trash family? Why would you not take that LOSER off of life support? Costing US taxpayers millions for being stupid. Only in Berkeley.

  • tn

    Sad ending but why must UC, its students and ultimately we taxpayers, be held accountable for paying money for this individual’s death as a result of drug use? Unless UC gave the drugs to this individual, it’s like a Ford car owner who runs over and kills a pedestrian he/she didn’t see, blaming and suing Ford automotive company for not automatically tinting their windows, because the sun was too bright on the windshield. Sounds like an opportunist who refuses to understand or accept responsibility for their adult son’s actions.

  • Sunny Schwartz

    Now you know why student tuition is increasing.

  • Beverly

    I lived at Cloyne for 4 years in the 80s, and while there were some drugs floating around no one even came close to a lethal situation. There were some heavy partiers but they did not define the image of the coop, which was home to many engineers, pre-meds, and other hard working students who have gone on to become upstanding contributors to society. I don’t know if Cloyne really has undergone some transformation into a den of iniquity or whether this isolated tragedy has tainted an otherwise respectable alternative to the more conservative living establishments. I found Cloyne to be a great place to live, full of brilliant minds, great healthy food planned and prepared by the students, and a place where I learned how to be a contributing part of a community. Please don’t judge until you really know the whole philosophy behind the co-ops.

    • Still Here

      It’s true. With the exception of Barrington Hall off Telegraph in the 70’s (which I only heard tales of), the co-ops were safe, fun, interesting places to live. They were a great alternative to dorms or getting your own place. I highly recommend them!

  • Phil Matier: Cal Reconsidering Hands-Off Policy With Student Co-Op After Overdose Settlement « CBS San Francisco

    […] BERKELEY (KCBS) — A UC Berkeley student cooperative is reconsidering a permissive drug policy after a near million-dollar settlement with the family of Josh Gibson, a student, who needs around-the-clock care since he suffered an overdose at Cloyne Court in 2010. […]

  • Overdose Prompts UC Berkeley Co-Op To Go Drug Free « CBS San Francisco

    […] live there to convince the university they could address drug use and abuse in the residence, after a student suffered brain damage from a drug overdose in […]

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