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McCluskey's settlement
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Settlement deal nearing completion for parents of Lauren McCluskey

FILE: Lauren McCluskey, a student-athlete at the University of Utah, was murdered in October 2018. Photo: University of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are in the process of approving the settlement awarded to the parents of murdered University of Utah (University) student-athlete Lauren McCluskey.

Matt and Jill McCluskey reached a $10.5 million settlement with the University, but Utah law states that lawmakers and the governor must approve the amount before it’s finalized. 

Lawmakers are involved because the settlement exceeds $1 million and involves a state-funded institution. The settlement was unanimously approved in committee and is headed for a vote in the House. Both the lawyers for the McCluskey’s and for the University told a federal judge Monday that the House and Senate are expected to pass the joint resolution.

The Utah Legislative session runs from Jan. 19 to March 5, and the state has until March 31 to pay the McCluskeys, according to Joni Jones, an assistant attorney general representing the University.

Utah’s risk management agency and its insurance provider will pay the McCluskey family the $10.5 million settlement. The University will also make a donation of $3 million to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation

McCluskey’s and the University reach a settlement 

The McCluskey’s filed two lawsuits against the University for its failure to protect Lauren from the man who killed her, despite numerous reports to police.  

On the two-year anniversary of Lauren’s death, the University and McCluskey’s family reached a settlement agreement, acknowledging the murder as preventable. 

“The university acknowledges and deeply regrets that it did not handle Lauren’s case as it should have and that, at the time, its employees failed to fully understand and respond appropriately to Lauren’s situation,” said University of Utah President Ruth Watkins.

“As a result, we failed Lauren and her family. If these employees had more complete training and protocols to guide their responses, the university believes they would have been better equipped to protect Lauren.” 

Once the settlement is approved by the legislature, Dick Baldwin, a lawyer for the McCluskeys, said they will dismiss the lawsuit with the University and not file again.