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GW Mourns the Passing of Eric Fatla

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
GW Law Mourns the Passing of Eric Fatla
Clare Cavaliero

It is with deep regret that I report that a classmate of ours, 1L Evening Student Eric Fatla,
passed away Monday, December 27, 2010. While visiting his family in Chicago, Eric fell
over a stairway railing at the Union League Club shortly before leaving for midnight mass on
Christmas Eve. He had just finished dinner there with his father, Edward. Eric’s father found
him on the ground at the bottom of the marble staircase, but did not see the fall. Authorities
said they did not know whether Eric fell from the building’s second or fourth floor, and there
were no witnesses. The club is reviewing videotapes to determine exactly what happened,
although, according to the Washington Post and a number of other sources, the police say
his death appears to be an accident.

Eric suffered traumatic brain injury and was given less than a five percent chance of survival.
A few days later, on Monday, December 27, 2010, Eric succumbed to the injuries he
sustained, and died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Eric was only twenty-six years old.

Eric’s parents described him as a “perfect son,” and he is remembered as a rising star in the
political world with limitless potential. After discussing Eric’s situation with doctors, his family
decided to donate his organs.

Before he began his studies at The George Washington University Law School, Eric served
as a staff member for former Illinois Congressman Jerry Weller and graduated from Illinois
Wesleyan University.

The George Washington University issued a statement on December 28, 2010, in which both
Interim Dean Gregory E. Maggs and Professor Turley expressed their condolences. “Eric’s
death saddens the entire GW Law community,” said Interim Dean Maggs. “When a student
with such wonderful potential is taken from us, we all deeply feel the loss. Our heartfelt
sympathies go out to his family, friends, and classmates during this difficult time.”

Professor Turley, who taught Eric in his Torts class and Legal Theory class, demonstrated
heartfelt compassion for Eric and his family, and kept much of the law school community
updated through his blog posts. Professor Turley wrote: “I cannot express the profound
sadness over the loss of Eric, who was a brilliant young man with an extraordinary
background and an even brighter future. Eric had already accomplished more than most
people accomplish in a lifetime. He had gone to China on a research project, gone to
Honduras as an election monitor, and worked in Congress as a staffer.” In addition, Eric
was working as the director of operations for a lobbying and consulting firm while attending
evening classes at George Washington.

In his blog, Professor Turley also mentioned that he was in Chicago for Christmas, and
personally reached out to Eric’s family upon learning about the accident.

The Nota Bene and The George Washington University Law School extend sincere
sympathies to Eric’s family and friends. Please continue to keep Eric, his family, and his
friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Members of the George Washington community who are affected by this tragic incident

may contact the University Counseling Center at (202) 994-5300 or http://gwired.gwu.edu/
counsel/.

For more information, please see:
Professor Jonathan Turley’s blog post: http://jonathanturley.org/2010/12/25/prayers-for-eric-
fatla/

The George Washington University’s statement: https://www.gwu.edu/
explore/mediaroom/newsreleases/
georgewashingtonuniversitystatementregardingthedeathofgwlawstudentericfatla

The George Washington University Law School’s statement: http://www.law.gwu.edu/News/
newsstories/Pages/EricFatla.aspx

The Washington Post: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-breaking-news/dc/gwu-law-
student-dies-after-fal.html

The Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-union-league-fall-
death-20101228,0,6042015.story?obref=obnetwork

We are looking to dedicate a portion of the next issue to Eric's memory. If any of Eric's
friends or professors would like to share a story, picture, or message, please send it to Clare
Cavaliero, ccavaliero@law.gwu.edu.