In a few short months, freshmen will be heading to college to begin a new chapter of their lives. For some, this may involve joining a fraternity or sorority. Although many of these organizations provide members with a sense of community, support, and other benefits during their college careers, some resort to dangerous and unnecessary hazing as part of the initiation process. Recent news reports have highlighted incidences of hazing being taken too far and even leading to student deaths. If you or your child were harmed as a result of hazing, contact the dedicated Charlotte personal injury lawyers at Maurer Law to learn more about your potential right to recovery.
Recently, a North Carolina Court of Appeal discussed whether a fraternity can be held liable for injuries that a student sustains as a result of hazing activities. The decedent in the case was a student who was pledged to a local chapter of a national fraternity. He died while staying as an overnight guest at the apartment of another fraternity member. The fraternity member testified that the pair had stayed up until 4 a.m. ingesting drugs and alcohol and that he went to class at 9 a.m. when he observed the decedent still sleeping in his apartment. He further testified that when he returned from class the decedent was pale, non-responsive, and appeared to have vomited.
Evidence in the record detailed some of the hazing activities that pledge class members allegedly underwent including being forced to drink alcohol to excess and physical violence. Text messages that the decedent had sent his friends suggested that he was undergoing serious mental stress as a result of the alleged hazing activities and pressures of the pledge process.