Clemson University Hit with Wrongful Death Suit for Alleged Hazing

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Clemson University Hit with Wrongful Death Suit for Alleged Hazing


Clemson University Hit with Wrongful Death Suit for Alleged Hazing
Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

The surviving family of a Clemson University freshman who died in September 2014 has filed a wrongful death suit against the university, the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity; of which the deceased student was a pledge, and three other fraternity members, claiming $25 million dollars in damages. The deceased student was a 19-year-old political science major who, according to the suit, was on an early morning run with other fraternity members in 2014 when he died. His body was apparently found later that day below a bridge, and the authorities determined that he suffered severe head injuries from falling onto the rocks in shallow water. The suit claims that the death was the result of a hazing ritual that resulted in an accident.

Hazing Death

According to the lawsuit filed by the deceased student’s parents, the fraternity took the pledges for a grueling 5:30 a.m. run on the day of the incident. The suit states that one of the members, who is also a named defendant, confronted the student for not bringing the biscuits that he was told to bring. The fraternity allegedly held a tradition of requiring pledges to jump off bridges into the lake and then swim to the lakeshore. After the student jumped into the water, the fraternity members left. When the student did not appear for the fraternity breakfast that morning, the members then began to make calls and drive around to look for him. His disappearance was not reported to the authorities until 1:15 p.m. – seven hours after he had fallen into the lake. The lawsuit alleges that one fraternity member texted the deceased student’s girlfriend that he was okay, which he insisted would “help [them] buy time.” The members had allegedly attempted to delete all text messages and phone calls that occurred since that day.

The lawsuit indicates that Clemson was planning on suspending the fraternity due to “unprecedented conduct issues over the course of the first three weeks of school” and “hazing and sexual misconduct.” Earlier this year, Clemson announced that the fraternity would be suspended from campus until December of 2019, as it found the fraternity guilty of underage drinking, hazing, harm to person, failure to comply with official request, disruption of community and ethical standards, and student organization conduct.

Wrongful Death Claims

The wrongful death suit alleges that Clemson University owed a duty of care to the deceased student that it breached, causing the deceased student’s death. Under of Section 15-51-10 of the South Carolina Code, wrongful death is defined by “death of a person caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another and the act, if death had not ensued, would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof.”

A wrongful death suit is similar to a personal injury suit but the injured person is no longer alive to seek civil remedies in court you could try these out. It is typically filed by the personal representative of the victim such as the victim’s survivors (including spouse, children, and parents), heirs, or others. Normally, a wrongful death suit must be filed within two years after the person’s death. If the claim is not timely filed, the family may lose its chance to collect damages forever.

Here, the suit claims that Clemson knew or should have known that the acts or omission of the fraternity were dangerous, grossly negligent, and were in violation of its policies and expectations. It failed to communicate with the fraternity and prohibit them from engaging in hazing activities, failed to provide education and training to the fraternity members, failed to immediately suspend fraternity activities when it knew or should have known that it was violating school policies, and failed to adequately supervise the fraternity’s activities. The suit claims that, because of the school’s gross negligence, damages in the amount of $25 million were appropriate to compensate the family for grief and sorrow, loss of companionship, mental shock and suffering, loss of the student’s society, loss of the student’s earnings and economic services, funeral and burial expenses, and punitive damages.

Educational institutions have a duty of care to its students to institute policies and take actions to ensure student safety. If you believe you or a loved one has been injured because of the negligence of others, the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC may be able to help you seek compensation. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Contact Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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