Connecticut Wrongful Death Lawyer Takes on Yale Fraternity in 2003 Hazing Case
New Haven, CT (Law Firm Newswire) February 2, 2012 - Fraternities are known for building camaraderie amongst a group of men on college campuses. They should be organizations that provide positive social and academic experiences for college age men, and provide networks and activities even after the undergraduate years. But in this case, a fraternity created a rush week that led members to be fatigued, drink alcohol even though they were underage, and be forced to participate in hazing rituals.
“The Yale Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity had a hell week that culminated in a Manhattan event that caused four deaths of its members back in 2003,” said Connecticut wrongful death attorney Joel T. Faxon, of Stratton Faxon law firm. “As they were driving back to Yale on that fateful morning, they did not have to die in a catastrophic car accident.”
Faxon is representing Nicholas Grass’ estate, the last lawsuit to deal with the wrongful deaths from back in 2003. Connecticut’s Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the estate’s appeal about whether Delta Kappa Epsilon had a duty of care to ensure that Grass and his frat brothers made it back safely from the Manhattan event. At issue is if the fraternity created the foreseeable danger or failed to act to prevent it. With the hell week activities, many frat members only had 25 to 30 hours of sleep for the whole week in addition to strenuous activities and events.
“Anti-hazing statutes already exist but with recent cases across the United States in varying college organizations, there is still more to be done to prevent injuries and deaths to college aged students,” said Faxon. “Anything is hazing if it is a compulsory event that leads to an unsafe condition."
Grass’ case is being appealed from the trial judgment because Faxon said the court was wrong to decide against Grass’ estate and the technicalities show “…the case was dismissed improperly and his estate should have the right to refile”, Faxon noted.
If the Connecticut Supreme Court does find that the fraternity is liable, it could be fined and dissolved for a minimum of one year.
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