The lawsuit against Penn and Amazon.com, Inc. filed by the family of late nursing student Arya Singh reached a settlement on Jan. 30, ending the nearly two-year long case alleging that Singh used illegal cyanide products purchased through the online retailer when she died by suicide in her Rodin College House dorm room in February 2013.
The case named Penn as a defendant due to alleged “unsympathetic, hostile and at times vindictive” behavior that administrators showed towards Singh after she reported being sexually assaulted as a freshman in her dorm room in Kings Court English College House by another student on Jan. 16, 2011.
Singh died in the hours following the notice of her removal from campus housing, and wrote in a note about the Office of Student Conduct’s investigation into her student misconduct and about her ongoing troubles at the University, the complaint said.
On Wednesday, Philadelphia Judge Matthew D. Carrafiello passed a joint motion to file the settlement under the court’s approval, Law360 reported. The terms of the agreement are confidential and are to be filed under seal.
Penn declined to comment on the settlement.
The lawsuit, filed by Singh's mother, Sujata Singh, alleged Amazon allowed Thailand-based company, GMO Internet Inc., to sell these cyanide products 51 times prior to Singh’s purchase, resulting in 11 deaths. At the time of Singh’s purchase, Amazon did not have any policies in place that applied to sales like this.
The complaint stated that Singh reported the sexual assault to Counseling and Psychological Services and scheduled an appointment with a therapist, but the center had no availability for a follow-up and did not attempt to schedule another appointment despite noting that she was experiencing depression, anxiety, nightmares, erratic sleep and loss of appetite due to the sexual assault.
Singh was also notified that her alleged assailant would be removed from her dorm after informing Student Intervention Services and the Penn’s Women’s Center of her emotional difficulties resulting from his proximity, but he maintained access to the building and other buildings on campus.
The complaint targeted the University for negligence in pursuing her case because of the changeover in the sexual assault investigating procedures in the years prior. A hearing facilitated by the Office of Student Conduct was canceled when the alleged assaulter accepted disciplinary sanctions and agreed to avoid contact with Singh and leave her college house.
Singh became depressed and began drinking heavily and exhibiting avoidant behavior as a result of the trauma of her assault, the complaint said. In January 2013, she was placed on academic probation and faced various other student misconduct offenses, including not meeting certain undergraduate Nursing requirements and failing a writing seminar course. Her student account was placed on disciplinary hold, which prevented her from registering for classes and prompted the University to ask her to vacate student housing on Feb. 8 due to under-enrollment.
The lawsuit alleged negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring against the University.