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$25 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Fatal Hazing Incident

September 18, 2011

With the school at University of Georgia and other colleges and universities having recently started, your college-bound young adult may be asked to join the Greek System and become part of a fraternity or sorority.

While the Greek system can provide an opportunity to develop future contacts, build a social network at a university and obtain access to a wide range of social and recreational activities, there is also a darker side to the fraternity and sorority experience. Pledge initiation, rituals and hazing that are a frequent part of the fraternity and sorority experience are often portrayed in movies and television as harmless hijinks. However, many times each year college hazing incidents result in serious injury or wrongful death.

Pledge initiation often involves ritual practices like hazing by a fraternity or sorority to bring about a sense of close bonding. Hazing is designed to provide shared experiences frequently under adverse, stressful or physically challenging conditions that promote a tight camaraderie among the members of the organization. While these experiences may be unpleasant or downright painful during the time they are experienced, they theoretically are looked back on by members with humor.

Unfortunately, many times hazing includes dangerous practices such as forced consumption of alcohol that result in catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death. A $25 million wrongful death lawsuit has been filed resulting from the tragic hazing death of a Cornell University sophomore. The mother of the fraternity hazing victim has alleged in her wrongful death lawsuit that fraternity members allegedly blindfolded and bound the hands and feet of her son before kidnapping him. The wrongful death hazing lawsuit also alleges that the fraternity pledge was forced to drink so much that he died of alcohol poisoning.

Although fraternities and sororities are often associated with hazing activities, hazing may be experienced in a wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs. A study entitled the National Study of Student Hazing conducted by professors at the University of Maine found that 55 percent of all college and university students that participate in sports, clubs and organizations experience hazing. While 70 percent of those involved in Greek organizations and varsity sports teams indicated having experienced hazing incidents, these incidents were even reported by members of honors societies (20 percent) and academic clubs (28 percent).

Common hazing practices reported in the University of Maine study include forced alcohol consumption, humiliation, sex acts, sleep deprivation and isolation. Perhaps, the most surprising aspect of these hazing practices is that they are often carried out in public. Students in the study reported that 25 percent of the time an advisor, coach and/or alumni was aware of the hazing incident.

Hazing can lead to permanent life-threatening injuries including alcohol poisoning, serious head injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and wrongful death. When students are forced to consume large quantities of alcohol, subject to physical restraints or deprived of adequate sleep by being woken throughout the night to be forced to submit to acts of humiliation, the results can be tragic. If your child is the victim of hazing and suffers injury or wrongful death, contact the experienced Georgia personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates.  We have been fighting for the rights of accident victims throughout Georgia for over 39 years.

Our Georgia personal injury attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.