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Family sues U.Va. over VQR editor's suicide

Wednesday - 8/1/2012, 2:05pm  ET

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Virginia is being sued by the family of a literary journal managing editor who committed suicide in 2010.

The $10 million lawsuit claims 52-year-old Kevin Morrissey's death stemmed from a hostile work environment created by U.Va. officials and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Morrissey fatally shot himself on July 30, 2010.

Media outlets report that attorneys representing Morrissey's family filed the wrongful death lawsuit last week in Henrico County Circuit Court. Former U.Va. President John T. Casteen III, several other current and former university employees and the literary journal's former editor, Ted Genoways, also are defendants.

University spokeswoman Carol Wood declined to comment. She said Tuesday that none of the defendants had been served with the lawsuit.

After Morrissey's death, colleagues and relatives alleged that he clashed with Genoways, and that he tried to contact university officials about the issues before his death.

According to the lawsuit, university officials knew Morrissey suffered from depression and may have been suicidal. It said they should have taken greater measures to protect him from Genoways.

A university audit conducted after Morrissey's death found that Genoways failed to follow several institutional procedures and had difficulties with certain employees. But none "seemed to rise to the level of a serious, ongoing concern," the audit said.

The audit also said the school took appropriate actions in handling personnel issues surrounding the event.

Genoways resigned from his position at VQR earlier this year to focus on his own writing.

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