GP IN TW FB HOME
Share

Texas Personal Injury News

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Greek Life and Wrongful Death

Who is liable when a fraternity or sorority member dies at the fraternity/sorority house?

The family of a Texas A&M University student who died as a result of an overdose recently filed suit against the Sigma Nu fraternity house.  In the wrongful death lawsuit, the family of the deceased student named the fraternity itself and several of its members as defendants.  Anton Gridnev was found dead inside the Sigma Nu chapter house.  Investigations revealed several drugs in his system.  Frat members allegedly failed to respond to Gridnev’s overdose in a timely manner, which Gridnev’s family feels lead to his death.

Overdoses at Fraternity and Sorority Houses

Sadly, Gridnev’s overdose while at his fraternity house is far from unusual.  Just three months after Gridnev’s death, another college student at Texas A&M similarly died as the result of an overdose of drugs or alcohol.  The student was a member of a different fraternity at A&M.  Authorities report that house members thought he was sleeping, only to find him dead later on.

These instances raise some important questions as to how much legal responsibility a fraternity or sorority should hold for the actions of its members.  Are other Greek life members expected to respond immediately to potential medical emergencies among members?  What if the fraternity or sorority house was supposed to be dry?  

Wrongful death cases involving overdoses among college students are complex and will often turn on the specific facts surrounding the incident.  Liability could arise in cases where the deceased college student’s family can show frat or sorority members pressured the student to consume drugs or alcohol that later resulted in death or failed to take action when a frat member was in obvious medical distress.

Hazing Related Deaths

Along with overdoses, college students involved in Greek life sometimes die as a result of hazing.  At least one pledge has died each year since 1969, and many years this figure is far higher.  In one recent incident, a young pledge out of Penn State died from internal trauma following a pledge event.  It is alleged that 18 older brothers of Beta Theta Pi forced the now deceased student to drink an excessive amount of alcohol.  Video footage showed them prodding the injured pledge and failing to call for medical help.  

While most campuses across the nation have called for an end to hazing, the illegal practice is still ongoing, mainly in fraternities.  Fraternities, frat members, and potentially even colleges may be held legally responsible for the death of a member if the family of the deceased pledge can prove hazing lead to his or her death.

 


Archived Posts

2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2014
2013
2009


Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, PC has offices located in Houston and Lufkin Texas and serves clients throughout East Texas as well as many other states.
*Principal office in Lufkin, Texas



© 2018 Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, PC | Disclaimer
601 Sawyer, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77007
| Phone: 877.739.7744
207 E. Frank St., Suite 105, Lufkin, TX 75901
| Phone: 800.657.2230
1329 N. University Drive, Suite D-5, Nacogdoches, TX 75961
| Phone: 936.305.5155

Personal Injury | Commercial Litigation | Consumer Law | Defective Drugs & Medical Devices | Probate Litigation | About Us

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative


877.739.7744 Houston 800.657.2230 Lufkin