Mother of Deceased Rowan University Student Can’t Sue School
Magalys Garriga, whose daughter Jannette died in a campus apartment at Rowan University in 2017, is unable to sue the school over her daughter’s suicide, a state appeals court has ruled, saying she missed a legal deadline by seventeen days. Garriga said “paralyzing” grief caused her delay in filing a notice of tort claim with the college. She also said she “only became aware, several months after her daughter’s suicide, that professors and counselors at Rowan University may have pressured (her daughter) to take her own life.”
Jannette Garriga was a 27-year-old from North Bergen, Hudson County, and was a clinical psychology doctoral student at Rowan.
Her mother’s arguments had previously convinced a judge to extend the deadline to file, which came 90 days after the student’s death. However, a two-judge panel overturned the order, saying Garriga had not proved her delay was due to “extraordinary circumstances.”
The appellate ruling came after a state attorney for Rowan said “being grief-stricken and mourning the loss of a loved one does not, in and of itself, constitute extraordinary circumstances” under the state Tort Claims Act. Deputy Attorney General Marti Morris also indicated Garriga had not explained why another family representative could not have filed the claim.
An GoFundMe campaign for Garriga and her family describes Jannette as “a wonderful person” who worked as a graduate coordinator and intern in Rowan’s Office of Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution. It states:
“Jannette was a wonderful person. She was intellectual, loving, and curious. From North Bergen, Jannette was a clinical psychology doctoral student who was also interested in neuroscience. She was a beloved member of the team. Jannette was also an intern in the Rowan Office of Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution. Her bright smile and great sense of humor will forever be missed. We continue to keep her family in our prayers.
The sudden death of a family member can also be financially challenging. Please take 5 minutes of your time to donate to her family in an effort to alleviate some financial pressure…Thank you for your time.”
An email announcing Garriga’s death was sent by the office of Rowan University’s President. It read as follows:
“It is with great sadness that we share with you the news of the sudden passing of Jannette Garriga, a Clinical Psychology doctoral student.
Ms. Garriga, age 27, of North Bergen, was found deceased earlier today, April 26, in her on-campus apartment. Foul play is not suspected.
Individuals closest to her have been notified. If you (or someone you know) is having difficulty with this news, please come to the Wellness Center and ask to speak with a counselor or call the Wellness Center at 856-256-4222 or 856-256-4333 (on the main campus, ext. 64222 or 64333). Counselors can be reached at that number 24 hours a day…Please keep Ms. Garriga and her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Rowan University is a public research university in Glassboro, New Jersey. The school was founded in 1923 as Glassboro Normal School on a 25-acre site donated by 107 local residents. As of 2018, the university includes twelve colleges and schools in total plus the Division of Global Learning & Partnerships which manages the graduate program and online learning services. The university has a total enrollment of roughly 18,560 students.