News and Analysis


Robin Eberhardt

Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 12:10 a.m.

The D.C. Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit earlier this month filed by three families against GW in September over “gross mismanagement” of their relatives’ remains that were donated to the medical school – a dismissal that is recorded in court filings but does not go into effect until 14 days after the filing.

The families did not file paperwork showing a proof of service to GW within 60 days, allowing the court to issue a dismissal for the case that will not immediately go into effect, according to D.C. court policy.

The D.C. Court gives the people filing lawsuits a 14-day opportunity to file the proof of service before the dismissal goes into effect. During this period, the court records the case as dismissed in docket records.

Cary Hansel, the lawyer representing the families, said the families intend to file the paperwork before the 14-day deadline. If the court accepts the filings, the recorded dismissal in docket records will be revoked.

“We plan to file an appropriate motion with the court within the relevant time period,” he said.

The three individuals – Eileen Kostaris, Alex Naar and Mary Louise Powell – filed the suit in September after each of them learned that the University could not return the bodies of their family members to them or that the University returned the wrong remains to them. They sued GW for multiple kinds of negligence, fraud and for the alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress.

D.C. Court rules stipulate that the person or people filing the lawsuit are required to show proof that the parties being sued were notified of the lawsuit if they did not respond to the court’s notification. The person filing a case can request to extend the deadline to prove that the person or organization being sued received notice, D.C. Superior Court policy states.

When the court does not receive either a response from the person being sued or proof that they were notified of the lawsuit, the court can dismiss the suit without prejudice, meaning that the families can file the same lawsuit again.

Officials admitted in February that staff members in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences had mismanaged more than 50 bodies that were donated to the University for science. The University closed the body donor program after revealing the body mix-up.

This post was updated to reflect the following changes:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported in two references that a D.C. judge dismissed the case. The court clerk files the dismissals. The post was also updated to include comments from Cary Hansel, the lawyer representing the families.

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Officials expect Point Chaud Cafe and Crepes to fill GDub Java’s old spot in Duques Hall by January. Hatchet File Photo.

Crepeaway is going to have some on-campus competition.

Point Café and Crêpes will replace GDub Java’s former space on the ground floor of Duques Hall in January, the University announced Monday.

The crêpe shop, which already has two locations in D.C., will offer students sweet and savory crêpes, paninis, coffee, tea, European sodas and gelato, according to a release. Workers began construction in the space last week.

Students will be able to use GWorld at the location and purchases in the shop will count toward Dining Cash.

Officials expect Wiseguy NY Pizza and Beef’n’Bread to open for limited hours in the next weeks in the lower levels of District House, according to the same release.The other incoming vendors for the building – Chick-fil-A, GRK Fresh Greek and Sol Mexican Grill – do not have a set opening date but are still expected to open in the next couple months.

GW will continue to offer “District Days” on weekdays between noon to 2 p.m., where students can buy meals from GRK Fresh and Sol Mexican Grill until the vendors in the building officially open. And students can now purchase meals at set $6, $8 or $10 prices through some of the dining partners that accept dining dollars.

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University President Steven Knapp was one of more than 180 university presidents who showed support for undocumented students in a letter released Monday. Hatchet file photo by Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp was one of more than 180 university presidents who showed support for undocumented students in a letter released Monday. Hatchet file photo by Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp joined more than 180 other university presidents nationwide in a letter supporting a program that prevents the deportation of young undocumented citizens.

The group of presidents signed the letter in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program exempts children who entered the country before their 16th birthday or before June 2007 from deportation – meaning many of those impacted by the legislation are of college age.

The letter – part of an effort first started by Pomona College – supports the continuation and expansion of DACA and urges leaders to do so as well.

“This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity,” the document reads. “America needs talent—and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future.”

The University does not require applicants to disclose their immigration status and is “committed to supporting” DACA students, according to its website on undocumented student enrollment. Students and experts say they are concerned about the impact of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed policies on immigration, like the deportation of all undocumented citizens, on the existing international student body and how it could affect enrollment for those students in future years.

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D.C. Fire and EMS found the Falafel Bus food truck fire that injured three people Wednesday was caused by improperly refueling the truck's generator. Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

D.C. Fire and EMS found the Falafel Bus food truck fire that injured three people Wednesday was caused by improperly refueling the truck’s generator. Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

The fire that injured three people and destroyed a Falafel Bus food truck on H Street on Wednesday was caused by an employee refueling a gas generator while the truck was on and while food was being served in the truck, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The fire started on the outside of the truck and then spread quickly when it reached the inside because of the fuel feeding the stoves inside the food truck, The Post reported.

Safety guidelines for food trucks stipulate that the gas should not be refueled while the truck’s engine is still running or while food is being served. A representative from D.C. Fire and EMS told The Post that the workers should at least turn off the truck and allow it to cool down before refilling the gas tank, but the driver should ideally drive the truck to a gas station to refill it.

Three truck employees, two women and one man, were taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, according to The Post. One patient was in critical condition Wednesday.

“Improper fueling is now believed the very likely cause,” Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for D.C. Fire and EMS, told The Post.

A student created a crowdfunding campaign for the people injured in the food truck fire the day the fire happened. The campaign raised more than $8,000 as of Friday.

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Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Florence Harmon, center, said the light from an illuminated Hilton Garden Inn sign shines into neighbors' homes. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Florence Harmon, center, said the light from an illuminated Hilton Garden Inn sign shines into neighbors’ homes. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by reporter Marisa Sinatra.

Members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission unanimously voted to oppose a modification that would allow the Hilton Garden Inn in Georgetown to have an illuminated sign on their property.

Community members said they have been arguing against the sign at the hotel since 2008 when the hostel was first established at the corner of 22nd and M streets. Commissioner Florence Harmon said residents opposed the sign during the original hearing for the sign because they did not want to have a bright light shining into their homes.

Harmon referenced a zoning commission order from Nov. 28, 2008, where it agrees with the ANC that the sign cannot be illuminated in order to respect the residents in the community.

At the monthly meeting Wednesday night, Harmon argued on behalf of the residents of the neighborhood, emphasizing that the light from the hotel sign was intruding on their homes and that the decisions made by Hilton Garden and its team were damaging to the community.

In front of representatives from the hotel and the hotel’s layers, the firm of Holland and Knight, Harmon said the legal tactics made by the Holland and Knight team were “very questionable” in getting the zoning commission to agree to the sign.

Harmon said the hotel’s counsel went behind the ANC to the zoning administrator and got an order saying that a sign on the exhibit from the zoning commission allowed them to install the sign anyway.

“The sign was illegally installed,” Harmon said. “It was installed in violation of the express terms of the zoning commission.”

Harmon added that the Holland and Knight’s actions would not facilitate trust and community engagement for the business.

“It is really important for any business owner in this community to build goodwill and build good trust,” she said. “Some of the tactics that have been done by Holland and Knight are not the kid of tactics that would build goodwill and build good trust with the community, because a lot of your business will be community-based.”

Jessica Bloomfield, a representative from Holland and Knight, said the sign in question is located at the top of the hotel’s facade facing east. It is horizontally mounted, backlit, shows the name and logo of the hotel, and is about 3.5 by 12 feet in size, she said.

Bloomfield said she believes the sign is smaller and less intrusive than other signs in the neighborhood and that it is consistent with designs approved by D.C.’s zoning commission.

“Having that sign is essential to the success of the hotel,” Bloomfield argued. “It was designed specifically for that building.”

Shaun Burchard, who was at the meeting representing the hotel, said he did not have much to do with the sign because he just came into ownership of the hotel this year, when the sign was already in place.

“We’ve partnered with Hilton and obviously, the identity package that goes with being a branded hotel is significant to our customers to feel comfortable with what they are buying,” he said.

A resident from the community, Sarah Maddux, said she was at the meeting in which the signage was initially discussed.

“I would like for you to know that I was in the room with the architects when it was designed and discussed,” she said, “From the very first day, we were emphatic about not having that sign there.”

She also argued that the hotel did not accommodate the residents in other ways in which they requested. She said the neighbors requested to use one of the meeting rooms in the hotel for free, a chance they did not get.

“If you want to be a part of this neighborhood, take that sign down,” she added.

Patrick Kennedy, the chair of the ANC, said the community put a lot of time and money to enforce not having an illuminated sign in that Georgetown hotel.

“I have never had an ordeal like this for any other project that has come across our desk, and that’s where my frustration comes from, a lot of it,” he said.

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At least three people were injured after the Falafel Bus food truck caught fire Wednesday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

At least three people were injured after the Falafel Bus food truck caught fire Wednesday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated: Nov. 18, 2016, 10:00 a.m.

Three people were transported to local hospitals after the Falafel Bus food truck went up in flames on H Street Wednesday afternoon.

At least one of the people were critically injured from the fire, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Doug Buchanan said. He could not say which hospitals the people were taken to, but added that it’s safe to say that at least one of them was taken to GW Hospital.

D.C. Fire received the call for the fire at 1:59 p.m. and reached the scene at 2:03 p.m., Buchanan said.

“The fire is mostly contained,” he said at around 2:15 p.m. “It will be up to fire investigator in the next couple hours or days to determine the cause of the fire.”

D.C. Fire determined Thursday afternoon that the fire was caused by improper fueling of the generator on-site.

Police closed off H Street to vehicular traffic because of the fire, according to a D.C. alert. University spokeswoman Candace Smith said that buildings near the fire weren’t evacuated, but students were encouraged to use exits that were not near the fire.

Avery Anapol contributed reporting.

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A juvenile male was arrested for a reported robbery in front of the Melrose Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue late Monday night, according to a Metropolitan Police Department report.

Fourteen MPD officers responded when two individuals who live in Arlington, Va. reported that they were approached by two other individuals who took their iPhones at around 11:30 p.m. Monday, according to the report.

MPD officers stopped a suspect “positively identified as the individual that took the phone,” the report stated.

MPD Officer Hugh Carew did not give the arrested male juvenile’s name.

The case is open, according to the report.

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Metro will close four in-person sales offices this month, the agency announced Tuesday. Hatchet File Photo.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority will close four in-person sales offices on Nov. 15, the agency announced Tuesday.

The sales offices at Metro Center, Pentagon, Anacostia and Northern Bus Garage will close. The agency cited a nearly $300 million budget gap at WMATA as the reason for the closures.

“The move is part of a series of internal actions Metro is taking to reduce expenses and minimize the impact of possible fare increases and service reductions next year,” according to the release.

Each of those offices handle fewer than 200 transactions a day, according to the release. Metro estimates that 0.03 percent of Metro riders will be affected by the change since the overwhelming majority of riders pay through fare vending machines, online or through retail stores like CVS.

The sales office at Metro’s headquarters at 600 Fifth Street NW will remain open during business hours, according to the release.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. will be on campus next month to talk about his new book, “Our Revolution,” the University announced Monday.

Sanders will discuss his memoir which will feature his experience running for president this year and detail how he will continue to fight for a more equitable country, according to the release. He will be in Lisner Auditorium at 7 p.m. Nov. 16, the day after his book is scheduled to be released.

Students can purchase tickets to the event for $10 at the Lisner box office, which does not include a copy of Sanders’ book. Students will be able to also buy copies of his book at the event, and a limited number of ticket holders will receive a signed copy of the book from Sanders, according to the release.

The day before Sanders’s appearance, the University will also host Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery to discuss his book, “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement,” on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Jack Morton Auditorium.

As one of the most prominent reporters covering the Black Lives Matter movement, Lowery recounts his coverage of fatal police shootings of black males in the book. He was a member of The Post team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their work on police shootings.

Students can buy tickets for the conversation with Lowery for $5 online.

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Police arrested two men in connection to a shooting in Foggy Bottom early Monday morning, a Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman said Friday.

Police arrested Michael Ansara Ferebee, 23, and Julius Bowens, 24, for carrying a pistol without a license, MPD spokeswoman Rachel Schaerr said. Assault with a dangerous weapon and destruction of property were also listed as offenses associated with the case on a MPD report.

The U.S. Secret Service responded to a call reporting gunshot sounds on the 1000 block of 22nd Street around 3 a.m. Monday, according to the report. Police stopped a Nissan Sentra with gunshot marks in front of 403 17th St. – the Red Cross Museum – and searched the vehicle.

“Upon searching the vehicle a silver revolver was located in the glovebox,” according to the report.

Officers located a victim with a gunshot wound to his right hand on New Hampshire Ave. and Dupont Circle, and the victim was transported to GW Hospital, according to the report.

Police also found two vehicles, a Honda Accord and a Subaru, with gunshot damage on 22nd Street. There were gunshots in windows and walls on buildings near the location, adding up to total damages between $2,300 and $3,600, according to the report.

The crime was “club related,” according to the report.

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