Judge allows wrongful death case brought by Colleen Ritzer’s parents to head to trial

John Lu wrote that it should be left to a jury, not a judge, to decide whether DiNisco “breached its duty of care” by not disclosing the issues with the system to the town.

Colleen Ritzer. AP

An Essex Superior Court judge has denied an architecture firm’s request for a bench decision in a wrongful death case brought by the family of Colleen Ritzer, a Danvers High School teacher who was murdered by a student in a school bathroom in 2013, according to court documents.

Lawyers for Ritzer’s family have argued that DiNisco Design, a Boston firm that designed a nearly $80 million renovation to the high school, was aware that a new security camera system installed at the school would never work with the facility’s older technology, and that it was not working on the day Ritzer was killed by Philip Chism, a freshman. DiNisco Design has denied the claim, contending that the security cameras were working but the school had not assigned anyone to monitor them.


In a decision released Friday, Judge John Lu wrote that evidence shows DiNisco “knew that the System was not compatible with, and could never function properly with, the School’s existing technology, and that it clearly never notified the town about this incompatibility.”

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