Following the infamous meeting in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and our meetings with the apathetic attorneys, I turned my attention again to finding an attorney. I told our son, then living in Baltimore, about our problems and my determination to get legal help. He said he had heard of a very good Maryland lawyer named Richard Gershberg. Perhaps he might be the person we were looking for; or he could steer us in the right direction. I phoned his office and made arrangements to come to Baltimore on Monday, February 10, 2003.
Mr. Gershberg lived up to his advance billing. He listened politely as I went over our situation, the case as I saw it, and the problems we had had in finding a lawyer in Virginia. He said premises liability was not his specialty, but he was willing to take the case. He then said, “Are you sure you want me? I have been told I have the look.” For a moment I was not sure what he meant. Then I realized it was the fact that he was Jewish. My response was, “I am not looking for spiritual guidance, I am looking for a good lawyer.” I should have added, “you appear to fill that requirement.”
At last, it appeared we had our attorney. Janice and I would not be parties to the lawsuit. The suit would be filed on behalf of our granddaughter, Rebecca, by the trustees of Angie’s estate, her parents. We subsequently made plans for me to drive Rick Gershberg to the Dales home outside Grundy. That trip took place in April 2003. There, the arrangement was sealed. All parties got along well. Rick Gershberg was honest and straightforward about our chances—an uphill battle. But, it was a battle we all wanted to wage.
Rick Gershberg joined forces with the attorneys for the three wounded students: Emmitt Yeary of Abingdon, Virginia and E. Brent Byson of Las Vegas, Nevada, and on January 15, 2004 filed a $22.8 million civil law suit in the Wise County Circuit Court against The Appalachian School of Law, law school President Lucius Ellsworth, and Professor Dale Rubin. (To be continued)