This is my first time on VOAT. I hope I am in the correct place. I have a hypothetical question for someone more informed in VA. I have some questions and appreciate anything provided. I will take any suggestions I can, but this is a bit complicated. This is being done on my phone, so sorry for spelling and grammatical errors.
I would like to preface this by saying two things.
1) I already have an attorney. But I am not the most confident at the moment, with what he has told me. I got the second opinion from a trusted friend, who is also an Attorney, but does not specialize in criminal or civil cases in this State. His opinion makes me feel like my current attorney did not make the best decision ignoring a request to settle. My attorney said, "going to the negotiating table, may be viewed as an admission of guilt" and said to wait and see if the person formally files in court. My attorney said he looked up the person's criminal and financial history, and he does not think the individual will be able to afford to fight the case long-term. He also said the statute of limitations has long expired. There are some things mentioned in his claim, that are not making me feel too confident.
2) I was a stupid kid in college and hung out with people, I would no longer associate with. I have made silly bad decisions, trying to be "part of the crowd", but I did not take direct involvement in this. This will probably ruin my life if I was found guilty. The sum this individual is asking for is a 8-figure sum. I dont think any of us, even with our former organization's insurance, could afford to pay this. Ever. My GF of 5 years, will probably leave me. My family will probably stop speaking to me. I also feel like I will probably lose my job and life-savings. So please, do not roast me for being an idiot. I know.
A very quick and basic story-
I was in College and an idiot, desperate for friends. I joined a "organization", who may or may not have had a history of being the party spot on campus. I met so many people in my time there, it truly changed my life for the better, from my depressing, obese, boring high-school personality.
My Junior year, we had a great class of new members and some prior class members were a bit -"territorial"- is my best way to put it. So some members would frequently try to intimidate or "test the limits" of new members. 99.99% of the time, our officers would catch people before things got out of hand and cut that shit out.
Fast-forward to the .01%, which is what I am shitting myself over. I literally cant sleep at night because I cant think of a scenario where this will turn out okay for most of us.
We had a "special event" night for members only and something went extremely out of hand. Individuals in charge, did not know some of the members were "pre-gaming" the event heavily and did not know they were going to be inebriated upon arrival. Not too long into it, one of the new members, kind-of, sort-of, caught on fire, while a handful of members were not present. When we came to see what had happened, we about had a civil war when we saw the new member's injuries. I did not realize it because we were trying to figure who did what, to cause this- but at some point, someone took the member out and I personally did not see him for weeks on campus, following the incident. I was certain a group of police would arrest us, any day.
The attorney for our organization back then, told us to not speak about this with anyone. To not attain personal representation. To not speak to the School, without the legal team present. We were told the President of our organization would handle this directly with the University. We spoke to a few our advisors with the University and assumed everything was settled and handled after not hearing anything about it, after a month.
Fast forward to nearly a decade later, the person is now saying he is going to sue us and the University, because he said the School concealed information from police, and he's saying members threatened him to stay silent.
I and many of us, literally did everything by the book as soon as we found out he was seriously injured. We contacted our advisor to the school. We informed them, our insurance company, and our National Organization. I hope that no one would have been so stupid as to threaten the guy, but I can only speak for myself. I was told someone took him to the University medical center, but I was too busy arguing, to notice who took him. People got kicked out, Some people never came back, others stopped speaking to certain people. I figured people drifted away, to avoid future problems. I understood completely. Some people grew up. Others didn't. We all became more or less, independents, after that incident.
That day really changed my personality. I have graduated. Got an amazing job. I wanted to propose to my GF soon, but this may play some heavy changes in my life.
Now a decade later, I am literally having severe stomach cramps and this feeling of a heart-attack daily, from the stress of this being brought back up. My current lawyer seems to be way too calm about it and I really want to see if there is a more reasonable way to settle this, without endangering my future. If this goes to court, im either fucked publicly or fucked financially. I really did try to do what I was told back then, thinking it was the correct way to handle the incident.
My attorney says Statute of limitations is long expired, but my friend told me there are exceptions for extreme cases. He also said, IF the guy isn't lying about the threats and has proof, than he told me we could all still face criminal charges for this. Is he serious?! We told an advisor to the School IMMEDIATELY! We told our nationals chapter and everyone we were told to inform. I and like, 85% of us there, literally had no physical involvement in injuring him.
I dont even know where to begin. I haven't spoken to most of the people involved, in like 3 years. Before that, it had been 4 years. I dont understand how I could face potential jail time, for the actions of other men, that I no longer associate with. I dont see why I should consider a joint defense, if I dont think I had liability in this. At least not 8 figures worth. I also dont understand, why I cant be honest on record with the guys lawyer and be immune from wrong doing? He knows its just a couple of guys that did this to him. Why is he bringing the entire organization into this?
I am sorry for this long story. Is there anything I can do?
Does he have a chance at civil or criminal charges?
If this goes to court, and he's asking 8-figures, how much more will it potentially cost after legal fees?
Am I in a mutual defense with the College or will they come after us as well? Would those be separate criminal and civil charges? I dont think my representative has spoken with the University. He said, until something is filed in court, to keep living my life. Though it seems impossible to do.
Is my life pretty much screwed?
I dont know what evidence he has or who has spoken to his representatives, but I feel like im going to have a heart-attack before I even make it to any court room.
I know myself and the people I used to associate with, seem like pieces of shit. But I really tried to follow everything I was told to do.
Am I actually personally liable or is this some tactic to just get me to talk against perpatrators in court?