Judge refuses to dismiss suit involving fraternity hazing

The judge responsible for handling the lawsuit against Bethune-Cookman University over the fatal car crash involving a student involved in fraternity initiation has reportedly refused to dismiss that case as requested by the defendants. The lawsuit was filed last year by the student’s mother against the University, the fraternity and a University employee.

The fraternity had filed a motion to dismiss the wrongful death case, arguing that the national fraternity should not be held responsible for the actions of members of the local chapter. Its bid was rejected, however, on the grounds that the national fraternity could indeed, under existing law, be held liable for the wrongful and illegal conduct of local chapter members.

The complaint cites Florida Statute 1006.63, prohibiting hazing, as well as the University’s Greek Life Policy on hazing and its Statement on Hazing and Student Code. The Florida statute defines hazing as “any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for purposes including, but not limited to, initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution.”

The university employee listed as a defendant in the suit was allegedly responsible for managing the fraternities and sororities on campus. He, along with the university and the fraternity are being charged with negligence.

The mother is reportedly seeking compensation for lost support and services, mental pain and suffering, as well as economic losses and loss of net accumulations. While all somewhat technical sounding, this is just another way of saying that the mother is grieving the loss of her son and seeking some measure of justice for those who contributed to his untimely death.

Source: Daytona Times, “Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit against B-CU, others in student’s death,” James Harper, July 11, 2013.