State settles lawsuit against UW official for $200,000 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State settles lawsuit against UW official for $200,000

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MADISON (WKOW) -- State officials have settled a lawsuit over a UW-Madison assistant dean's counseling of a drunk driving victim's daughter, despite the official's friendship with the drunk driver.

"The case was resolved for a payment of $200,000,"  Wisconsin Department of Justice Spokesperson Johnny Koremenos tells 27 News.

Megan Mengelt sued UW's Dean Tori Richardson, maintaining after Mengelt's mother, Maureen, was killed in April 2013 as she jogged in Sun Prairie by drunk driver Bruce Burnside, Richardson counseled her, without revealing he had been texting his friend Burnside in the moments before the fatal collision.

In her lawsuit, the UW-Madison student maintained she was harmed by Richardson's deceit and betrayal, claiming he gained her trust to glean information for Burnside and himself.

In 2015, UW-Madison officials suspended Richardson for thirty days.

But a UW-Madison spokesperson says neither Burnside nor anyone else outside of authorized officials had access to the product of the counseling.

"The investigation found no evidence that Richardson shared student records inappropriately,"  spokesperson Meredith McGlone says.

UW-Madison officials say Richardson remains in the job he had at the time of his advising of Mengelt, with his salary $84,013.

Burnside was a Lutheran bishop at the time of his fatal, drunk driving.  He also drove off from the scene.  He's serving a ten year prison sentence.

Megan Mengelt has yet to respond to a call, text, and email from 27 News, seeking comment.

With the $200,000 payment, Mengelt's lawsuit will be dismissed, with no assignment of wrongdoing.

Last year, a lawsuit brought by the victim's widower, Kevin Mengelt against Burnside and others was also settled.  The amount of settlement is confidential.

Mengelt says a charitable foundation created in memory of his wife, and a 5k run in her name, have raised thousands to support Sun Prairie youth programs.


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