The family of a 19-year-old Clemson University student found dead after a 2014 pre-dawn fraternity pledge run have filed lawsuits seeking more than $50 million in damages from Clemson, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and three individual fraternity members. The suits allege that the student’s death was related to a hazing incident that the fraternity attempted to hide from the student’s girlfriend, family and Clemson police.
The student who died was one of 27 pledges forced to make the morning run. The student appears to have died after he went over a bridge railing and fell head first into shallow water. The lawsuits assert that he fell as a result of a confrontation with a fraternity member over breakfast that the alleged victim was supposed to have purchased that morning. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has not released any information about the cause of death to the public, but a previously unreleased autopsy shows that the student died from blunt trauma to his head, while a toxicology screen came back negative for drugs and alcohol.
The university was included in the lawsuits because of what the student’s family described as failures to educate the fraternity members about hazing, failure to punish the fraternity members immediately and failure to enforce its own anti-hazing policy. The defendants face both a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action lawsuit, which seeks damages incurred by the deceased from injury until time of death.
Who Can Help Families After the Wrongful Death of a Loved One?
When the reckless actions of another party cause the wrongful death of a loved one, an experienced attorney can be essential in a family’s fight for justice and closure. Nothing will make the loss of life acceptable, but having legal representation to ease the financial strain associated with that loss can make this experience more bearable for families. There is also some peace of mind to be gained from holding those at fault fully accountable for their unsafe actions, and possibly preventing similar misfortune for others in the future.
Stewart Law Offices helps families recover from these tragic losses by making the process as stress-free as possible. Free consultations are available to discuss how our attorneys can ease the strain of dealing with a wrongful death.
Did You Know? There have been over 60 fraternity-related deaths in the U.S. since 2005.
Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.