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An April trial date has been set for a 1986 suit in which the University is accused of contributing to the death of a Massachusetts private school coach in a Schuylkill River boating accident. The civil suit was filed by the parents of Katherine Liddle, a Brooks School boating coach, who died in March 1986 when her small motor boat went over the falls at the Schuylkill's Fairmount Dam. According to court documents, the plaintiffs claim that the University failed to properly maintain the boat, which it allegedly provided for Liddle to use on the river. John Barrett, the attorney representing the University, said last week that the jury trial of the case is set for April 8 in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. The plaintiffs claim that the motor in the boat stalled, and Liddle subsequently had no alternate safety means, such as oars or an anchor, to prevent her boat from going over the falls. The University denies any liability, according to the court documents. Barrett said that the amount of money that the University is being sued for is unclear, because due to the nature of city judicial procedure, plaintiffs may not ask for a specific recompensation. However, the potential money in question must be more than $20,000, because any lesser amount would be handled through arbitration, Barrett added. The attorney representing the plaintiff, William Keller, was out of town on Friday and could not be reached for comment. Barrett said that the reason for the large number of defendants is that "frequently a great number of people are joined in a lawsuit who have nothing to do with anything." Barrett also added that by the time the case comes to trial, many of the defendants will probably be dismissed.

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