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Blair Hornstine Settles

The case of the New Jersey valedictorian comes to an end as the teen settles her lawsuit with the town.

10:15 AM, Aug 20, 2003 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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BLAIR HORNSTINE has settled her lawsuit against Moorestown Township. Hornstine is the recent graduate of Moorestown High School who sued the town in order to remain sole valedictorian. The settlement was reached late yesterday afternoon.

According to the settlement papers, Blair Hornstine will receive $60,000--$45,000 of which is earmarked for attorneys' fees. Hornstine's original suit sought $2.7 million in damages and by the end of June insiders were estimating that her lawyers' tab was already near $50,000. The board of education's insurance carrier will pay nearly half of the sum--$25,000.

The settlement has no confidentiality clauses to it and, perhaps most important, includes no admission of guilt or wrongdoing in the Hornstine affair. The settlement has been in the works since the first week of August, when a source approached THE DAILY STANDARD claiming that releases had already been exchanged and that the terms--$15,000 for Hornstine, $45,000 for her attorneys--had already been decided. When contacted and asked for confirmation, the township's lawyer, John Comegno, denied the source's claim and called the numbers "absurd."

Last spring a federal judge granted Hornstine a temporary restraining order which prevented Moorestown High from naming a co-valedictorian to share the award with her. In July, Harvard rescinded its offer of admission to Hornstine. The details of the suit and ensuing firestorm can be found in First in Her Class.

Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.