Details Emerge on Bogenberger Settlement

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In its January 2019 issue, Fraternal Law reported on the settlement in the case of the David Bogenberger hazing death in an article entitled, “Largest Ever Settlement Reached in Hazing Case.”[1] After six years of...
READ MORE

Ohio University’s Effort to Eliminate Hazing Ignores the Rights of its Students

Tim Burke, Manley Burke LPA, tburke@manleyburke.com “…THE GROUP IS NOT TO MEET IN ANY CAPACITY, officially or unofficially. This includes organizational meetings, meetings of the executive board, organizational programming, social events, philanthropic events, and any trip or travel. This also includes...
READ MORE

Criminal Charges Filed Against Five Fraternity Members

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke LPA, ilana.linder@fraternallaw.com Although no evidence of hazing was found surrounding the death of an eighteen-year-old UC Irvine freshman who died after attending his fraternity’s “Big Brother Night,” five members of the fraternity have now been criminally...
READ MORE

Louisiana Legislature Amends Hazing Law to Impose stricter requirements.

Timothy M. Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com After the death of Max Gruver in 2017, the Louisiana legislature adopted one of the toughest hazing laws in the country. Now the legislature has imposed even greater requirements when it comes to reporting...
READ MORE

Jury convicts Matthew Naquin of negligent homicide in the death of Max Gruver

Timothy M. Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at the end of a six-day trial, a jury convicted Matthew Naquin of negligent homicide in the death of Max Gruver. Gruver died 2 years ago of alcohol poisoning...
READ MORE

LSU loses motion to dismiss the Gruver Estate’s Title IX Claims

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com On July 19, 2019, Chief Judge Shelly Dick of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana issued a decision that could have sweeping implications for fraternities and sororities. As part of...
READ MORE

First Sentences Handed Down following Tim Piazza’s death

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com More than two years after the death of Timothy Piazza at Penn State, the first four members of the Beta Theta Pi chapter who were involved in his death have received sentences of jail terms...
READ MORE

Lawsuit Alleges Disturbing Hazing

Katherine Schoepflin, Manley Burke, kschoepflin@manleyburke.com When a prospective member of a fraternity is seriously injured or dies as a result of hazing, in addition to likely criminal charges against the wrongdoers, a civil lawsuit will likely follow against the wrongdoers,...
READ MORE

Charges Dismissed Against Pi Kappa Alpha

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In December of 2017, in a highly unusual, indeed inexplicable move, Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, Inc. was indicted for hazing. Some fifteen months later, in a short Court Order, Judge Kelley Andrews—Presiding Judge of...
READ MORE

Timothy Piazza Anti-Hazing Law Passed in Pennsylvania

Tim Burke, Manley Burke LPA, tburke@manleyburke.com It was neither surprising nor inappropriate when the Pennsylvania legislature adopted new legislation last year aimed at stopping hazing. The facts around the death of Timothy Piazza were particularly horrific. His death occurred during...
READ MORE

Navigating Louisiana's Max Gruver Act

Arthur F. Hodge III, Mee Mee Hodge & Epperson, LLP, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Enacted in 2018, Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 14:40.8 addresses “Criminal hazing.” It provides certain penalties if persons and/or organizations covered by the statute “knew and failed to...
READ MORE

Lawsuit Filed After Tragic Death of Northwestern Student

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke, ilinder@manleyburke.com The mother of Jordan Hankins, a Northwestern University basketball player and Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) pledge who committed suicide, has filed suit against AKA National, the local chapters, and several individuals, seeking to hold the...
READ MORE

Are Mandatory Study Tables Considered Hazing?

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com A federal Complaint was recently filed by Sigma Lambda Upsilon (SLU) against the University of Virginia (UVA) that begs the question of whether requiring pledges to study at least twenty-five (25) hours per week constitutes...
READ MORE

Largest Ever Settlement Reached in Hazing Case

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com David Bogenberger died on November 1, 2012 of alcohol poisoning following what was reported to have been an “event at an off-campus fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, where fraternity members and members of various sororities hosted...
READ MORE

K-12 Case with Potential Future Implications for Greek Groups

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke LPA, ilana.linder@manleyburke.com Although it is uncommon for Fraternal Law, or higher education law more generally, to intersect with K-12 education law, there are some interesting takeaways that can be gleaned from public school cases. One such example is...
READ MORE

Investigation into Tragic Death of Ohio University Student Focused on Hazing

Katherine Schoepflin, Manley Burke, kschoepflin@manleyburke.com Hazing is in the headlines once again, and this time all eyes are on Ohio University. OU has issued a cease and- desist letter to the Epsilon Chapter of the Sigma Pi Fraternity after the...
READ MORE

Florida Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Hazing Statute

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Robert Champion, the drum major of the Florida A & M “Marching 100” band, died in November of 2011 following his participation in the hazing ritual known as “Crossing Bus C”. Those who “crossed” from...
READ MORE

International Fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha Faces Lawsuit Against University of Houston Student

Tim Lynch, Manley Burke A lawsuit has been filed against the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, Inc. for events surrounding its Epsilon Eta Chapter at the University of Houston. On September 18, 2018, Jared Anthony Munoz brought claims of civil...
READ MORE

House Democrats Propose New Legislation

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Legislation which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act remains pending in Congress. In the January 2018 issue of Fraternal Law, we reported on H.R. 4508 (the Prosper Act).1 Now, House Democrats have proposed a different...
READ MORE

Guilty Pleas at Penn State

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Fifteen months after Timothy Piazza died in a hazing incident fueled by alcohol and the failure to get him help for more than 12 hours, the first of two dozen defendants pled guilty and was...
READ MORE

Lawsuit Filed by Gruver Family

Max Gruver died on property leased from LSU in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house when some members of the Chapter violated the rules of the fraternity, the regulations of the University, and the laws of the State of Louisiana....
READ MORE

Court Finds National Not Responsible in Hazing Day

Amy Hebbeler, Manley Burke, amy.hebbeler@manleyburke.com Fraternities have been in the news as hazing deaths continue to grow. This has led Fraternities to reevaluate their policies and procedures with a focus specifically towards liability. When an incident occurs, the chain of...
READ MORE

Pi Delta Psi Appeals Criminal Conviction

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Pi Delta Psi, Inc., which was convicted in a Pennsylvania trial court of crimes involved in the death of Michael Deng,1 has appealed its conviction to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the first appellate level in...
READ MORE

Sentences Issued in Pi Delta Psi Death

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On January 8th, Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington of the Common Pleas Court in Monroe County Pennsylvania issued her final sentences in death of Michael Deng which resulted from a brutal hazing practice of Pi Delta Psi. ...
READ MORE

PKA International Indicted

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On December 14, 2017, a Grand Jury in Harris County, Texas (Houston) indicted Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, Inc. for hazing.  While the conduct described in the indictment which ultimately resulted in a lacerated spleen...
READ MORE

GUILTY! A National Fraternity Criminally Convicted

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com “AND NOW, this 21st day of November, 2017, the defendant, Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc., having been found guilty of Count III, Involuntary Manslaughter, County IV, Aggravated Assault, Count V, Criminal Conspiracy, County VI, Hindering...
READ MORE

Fraternity Pledge's Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Colin Pool The family of a West Virginia University fraternity pledge who died from alcohol poisoning has filed a wrongful death suit.1 The suit, filed October 8, 20152 in the Monongalia County Circuit Court,3 alleges negligence and related claims against...
READ MORE

A Senseless Epidemic

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Unfortunately the tragic and totally unnecessary death of Timothy Piazza at Penn State early this year failed to convince some of the dangers of alcohol and hazing.  Now Max Gruver is dead after an event...
READ MORE

Penn State: New Measures Hope for a New Beginning

Amy Hebbeler, Manley Burke, amy.hebbeler@manleyburke.com The wait of the Greek nation is over as Penn State students start back to classes and the comprehensive measures regarding Greek life at the University have been put into place. On August 21st the...
READ MORE

Who Will Govern? University Reactions to Fraternity Tragedies

Amy Hebbeler, Manley Burke, amy.hebbeler@manleyburke.com On the heels of the tragic death of Timothy Piazza at Penn State, a lawsuit has been filed in the wake of another tragic death of a Fraternity pledge following a night of hazing and...
READ MORE

Congressional Hazing Bill Has Greek Support

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On June 16th, Republican Congressman Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, and Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio, introduced the Report and Educate about Campus Hazing (REACH) Act in the United States Congress.  If adopted, the bill...
READ MORE

Penn State President Imposes New Rules for Greek Life

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Following the tragic death of Tim Piazza, Penn State University President Eric Barron authored an open letter to the campus community on April 10, 2017. In this letter, President Barron announced a series of new...
READ MORE

Tragedy at Penn State and its Consequences

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com What could they have been thinking, these men of principle? Timothy Piazza is dead. For absolutely no reason.  His parents are left to grieve in the wake of the inexplicable conduct of his would-be “brothers.” ...
READ MORE

IFC and PHA Dismissed from Penn State Lawsuit

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As previously reported in Fraternal Law,1 a lawsuit was filed against multiple parties by James Vivenzio, a former Penn State student and member of Kappa Delta Roe.  The plaintiff claims to have been the whistleblower...
READ MORE

Three Sentenced to Jail for Hazing

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The September 29, 2016 Roanoke Times reported that of the six members of Sigma Alpha Kappa who had been criminally charged in connection with the alcohol-related death of Michael Anthony Walker, a student at Ferrum...
READ MORE

Kappa Delta Rho- Penn State University Litigation Update

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As reported in the June 15th issue of Fraternal Law, a lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia last year against Penn State University, the Kappa Delta Rho Chapter there, the Penn State Interfraternity Council, and the...
READ MORE

Georgia Tech Reverses Suspension of Phi Delta Theta

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Last month, the President of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) lifted a “suspension held in abeyance until August 9, 2016” that had been imposed on the Phi Delta Theta Chapter on campus, after...
READ MORE

Family of Penn State Altoona Suicide Victim Files Lawsuit

Colin Pool The parents of Marquise Braham, a Penn State Altoona student and Phi Sigma Kappa member who committed suicide on March 14, 2014, have filed a lawsuit alleging various claims against the University, the local and national fraternity, and...
READ MORE

22 Students Convicted in Hazing Death

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Some two and a half years after the death of David Bogenberger, 22 former members of the Pi Kappa Alpha Chapter at Northern Illinois University stand convicted of misdemeanor hazing in what the state’s attorney...
READ MORE

Manslaughter Convictions in Florida A&M Band Death

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On Friday, April 24, 2015, Aaron Golson, Benjamin McNamee and Darryl Cearnel, the last three Florida A&M University band members charged in the hazing death of Robert Champion, removed their suit jackets as they were...
READ MORE

Penn State and Fraternity Sued

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Among the past academic year’s fraternity misconduct that made national headlines was the allegation that some members of the Kappa Delta Rho Chapter at Penn State University used a secret Facebook page(s) to share nude...
READ MORE

Stop It Now!

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com There will be no n_ _ _ _ _ _s in our fraternity.” A sign welcoming women to a party.  “No means yes and yes means ….” Headline:  Frat members harass wounded veterans. It is...
READ MORE

National Fraternity not Responsible for Football Injury

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Phi Delta Theta Chapter at the University of Alabama pitted its pledges in a football game against the pledges of Beta Theta Pi on September 23, 2011.  Tempers apparently flared and according to the...
READ MORE

Ringleader of Marching Band Hazing Sentenced to 77 Months in Prision

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Robert Champion, the Drum Major for the Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band, died on November 19, 2011 after “Crossing Bus C.”  That exercise, evidently practice in place for many years, involved punching and hitting...
READ MORE

Is Shutting Down Greek Systems the Answer?

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The recent Rolling Stone article “A Rape on Campus:  A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA” begins with a detailed description of an ugly gang rape in the upper floor of a fraternity...
READ MORE

The Beginning of a New Era for the Fraternity Membership

Thomas Dement III In January of this year, the Supreme Council of Sigma Alpha Epsilon met in Tucson, Arizona, for one of its quarterly face-to-face meetings.  During that meeting, the members of the Council discussed ways of dealing with the...
READ MORE

Deaths, Assaults, and Injuries Lead to Campus-Wide Bans on Greek Life

Daniel McCarthy & Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com In just the last few months, a number of universities have experienced terrible tragedies on their campuses. Many of these schools, both public and private, have responded by indefinitely banning some or...
READ MORE

Hazing Not Limited to Greeks

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The firing of the Ohio State University Band Director, praised by the U.S. Department of Education as it concluded a 4-year review of OSU’s sexual discrimination policies, highlights the fact that hazing is not limited...
READ MORE

A Brief History of Fraternity/Sorority Paddles and Recommendations

Alexandra Lehman A. Introduction The sorority paddle is most commonly used today as a decorative keepsake representing sisterhood and is given as a gift according to a local chapter’s traditions. The history of the paddle, however, is rooted in violence...
READ MORE

Indiana Supreme Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of National Fraternity

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com We are pleased to report that the position of the 23 NPC member groups who joined together in an amicus brief prevailed in Smith v. Delta Tau Delta, et al., Case No. 54S01-1405-CT-356.  On May...
READ MORE

Greeks Continue to Receive Poor National Press

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com National press for the Greek world has not been good the last few months.  A series of Bloomberg articles highly critical of fraternities and the record of hazing and alcohol-related deaths culminated in a January...
READ MORE

Indiana Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Phi Kappa Psi

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com In a closely watched case, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of Wabash College and Phi Kappa Psi, dismissing all claims against these two defendants.1  Brian Yost, a Wabash freshman and Phi...
READ MORE

Anti-Hazing Hotline Welcoming New Sponsor

Daniel McCarthy The National Hazing Hotline (1-888-NOT-HAZE), which is monitored by attorneys with Fraternal Law Partners and Manley Burke, has recently welcomed several new sponsors, including Delta Delta Delta and Alpha Phi Alpha.  The Hotline is now sponsored by 42...
READ MORE

Student Death Could Lead to Criminal Charges, Civil Suit, and Revised Laws

Danny Bradford New York lawmakers are taking steps to strengthen the state’s anti-hazing laws after the death of a Baruch College fraternity member. Chun “Michael” Deng died after sustaining a brain injury during a hazing ritual on a Pi Delta...
READ MORE

Hazing In The News

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The issue of hazing just won’t go away.  In spite of the virtually universal efforts by national fraternities and sororities to eliminate hazing, there can be little doubt that serious instances of hazing continue.  Those...
READ MORE

Colorado Court Compels Arbitration

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke As reported in the November 2012 issue of Fraternal Law, Scott Higuchi sued Delta Tau Delta and various other defendants after his son, Ross Higuchi, died in April 2011 when he fell from a balcony of...
READ MORE

Anti-Hazing Hotline Returns for its Sixth Year

The collegiate Greek Anti-Hazing Hotline, launched in 2007, now has 39 national fraternity and sorority sponsors. The Hotline has proven a popular and effective hazing deterrent, as it provides an anonymous means for victims of hazing ( or their friends,...
READ MORE

Smith v Delta Tau Delta: Fraternal Law Partners Files Amicus Brief on behalf of NPC Organizations

Sean Calla, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com Fraternal Law Partners filed an Amicus Brief with the Indiana Supreme Court on behalf of 23 women's fraternal organizations in the Smith v. Delta Tau Delta hazing case.1 The case involves a wrongful death claim...
READ MORE

Chapter Suspended for Facebook Posts

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Like many other fraternity and sorority chapters around the country, the Kappa Gamma Chapter f Pi Kappa Alpha at Florida International University utilized a Facebook page to facilitate member communications. The page included the fraternity...
READ MORE

National Hazing Prevention Week: Know. Decide. Act.

Michelle Terhune National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) doesn't officially start until September 23, but organizer HazingPrevention.Org (HPO) is already out of the gate with this year's event. The 2013 Planning & Product Guide and planning webinar, "Know. Decide. Act." have...
READ MORE

Bethune-Cookman and Phi Mu Alpha Sued

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com The mother of Marcus Thomas, a Bethune-Cookman University Student who died in a car crash last year, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school, the school's Greek Life Coordinator, the national fra­ternity, and...
READ MORE

Bogenberger Complaint Amended to Add 16 Women as Defendants

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The death of David Bogenberger from alcohol poisoning with a blood alcohol content level five times the legal limit in Illinois has already garnered substantial me­dia attention as a result of the arrest of 22...
READ MORE

SAE Insurance Not Required to Contribute to Settlement

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Carson L. Starkey died on December 2, 2008, after participating in a "brown bag night," sponsored by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Chapter at Cal Poly State University. He was a pledge. Starkey and other pledges...
READ MORE

National Hazing Prevention Week is 365 Days Long

Michelle Terhune National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) will be observed September 23-27, 2013, but organizer HazingPre­vention.Org (HPO) hopes the issue is discussed 365 days a year. This year's theme for NHPW is "Know. Decide. Act. Only You Can Prevent Hazing,"...
READ MORE

Smith v. Delta Tau Delta; Rules and Enforcement May Create Claims under Assumption of Duty and Agency Theories of Liability

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com In the fall of 2008, Johnny Smith was a freshman at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Mr. Smith pledged the Beta Psi Chapter of Delta Tau Delta and began living in the Beta Psi Chapter...
READ MORE

AKA Sued

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On February 28, two students at Howard University sued in an effort to become  members of the Alpha Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. They claim that they have been denied membership in the...
READ MORE

Death Leads to Charges and Civil Suit

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke On August 31, 2012, members of Theta Chi chapter at Fresno State allegedly locked 15 pledges in a room with eight bottles of hard liquor and told the pledges not to leave until the bottles were...
READ MORE

Death and NIU Leads to Criminal Hazing Charges

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com "These kind of hazing incidents  are commonplace on college campuses. . .These kids don't understand that you can die from it. . .This is a national health epidemic, which must be addressed."1 On November 2,...
READ MORE

UCF Suspends Greek Life Activities

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke In February, the University of Central Florida ("UCF") unilaterally suspended all Greek Life social, new member education and initiation activities "in order to work with fraternity and sorority chapters on com­prehensively addressing alcohol and hazing activities."...
READ MORE

Chico State Suspends All Greek Organizations

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In the last decade, California State University at Chico has experienced four deaths related to fraternities on its campus.  The first three were hazing related.  The most recent, the death of Mason Sumnicht, occurred in...
READ MORE

Alabama Suspends All Pledging

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke According to a statement from the University of Alabama, due to numerous calls to the University’s hazing hotline, the University “has ended all IFC pledgeship activities as of 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18.”  At a...
READ MORE

ANTI-HAZING HOTLINE ADDS SPONSORS, DEDICATED WEBPAGE

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke The collegiate Greek Anti-Hazing Hotline, launched in 2007, now has 38 member fraternities and sororities representing more than 35% of all undergraduate Greek letter members. The Hotline welcomed its newest member, Omega Phi Beta, the first...
READ MORE

Federal Hazing Law Coming

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke In response to the death of Robert Champion, the Florida A & M drum major mentioned in Mr. Nuwer’s article above, United States Representative Frederica Wilson announced that she plans to introduce a federal anti-hazing bill...
READ MORE

A Band Hazing May Forever Increase the Legal Consequences for Hazing Deaths

Hank Nuwer The beating death of Robert Champion in a band hazing at Florida A & M last November may change forever the consequences associated with a hazing death. The FAMU band members accused of killing Champion with their fists...
READ MORE

Mother Sues Sigma Alpha Epsilon and 20 Individuals Following Son’s Death

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke George Desdunes, a 19-year-old sophomore at Cornell University, died on February 25, 2011.  His mother, Marie Lourdes Andre, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June in state court in Brooklyn.  The lawsuit seeks at least $25...
READ MORE

Hazing Hotline Enters Fifth Year with 32 Sponsors

The Greek Anti-Hazing Hot Line is now entering its fifth academic year.  Established in 2007 by a consortium of national collegiate fraternities and sororities, the Hotline had 95 calls in the academic year concluded in June, 2011. The Hotline provides...
READ MORE

Insurers Won’t Defend Hazing or Alcohol Claims

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com When hazing causes a tragic death, or serious injury, it often leads to litigation.  Some insurance providers are now taking a very hard look at whether or not they have responsibility to defend such litigation....
READ MORE

CHAPTERS AT MARYLAND AND LONGWOOD FACE DISCIPLINE

Numerous Greek chapters at the University of Maryland’s Greek are currently facing a variety of disciplinary charges.  Seven members of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority were charged with second-degree assault and hazing and the chapter was suspended indefinitely following hazing...
READ MORE

INJURED FORMER PLEDGE SUES PHI GAMMA DELTA

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke In or about September of 2010, the members of the Pi Deuteron chapter began making preparations for their FIJI Island party.  As part of these preparations, the active members ordered the pledges to construct a pool...
READ MORE

SOCIAL MEDIA ALERT – FACEBOOK USED AGAINST RUSH CANDIDATES

Craig Moore, Armstrong Teasdale LLP (co-chair, Social Media practice group), cmoore@armstrongteasedale.com In the ever growing age of social media, the challenges faced by fraternal organizations are not always as apparent as one might think.  Recently, MSNBC reported (http://on.msnbc.com/fiqs2y) that numerous...
READ MORE

ANOTHER HAZING AND DRINKING DEATH LEADS TO LAWSUIT

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On September 22, 2010, a lawsuit1 sadly entitled “Complaint for Wrongful Death of a Child” was filed against Delta Tau Delta, its House Corporation at Wabash College, the College itself and two of the officers...
READ MORE

SIX SORORITY MEMBERS AT RUTGERS ARRESTED FOR HAZING

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Six members of the Sigma Gamma Rho chapter at Rutgers University were arrested and charged with aggravated hazing in January.  According to published reports, members of the chapter beat and belittled pledges for a period of...
READ MORE

SIGMA ALPHA MU CHAPTER FINED $50,000

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke The Sigma Alpha Mu Chapter at the University of Delaware was recently fined $50,000 by a judge for hazing.  The Chapter was charged with hazing, a misdemeanor, following the 2008 death of Brett Griffin from alcohol...
READ MORE

HAZING HOTLINE CONTINUES TO DETER HAZING

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com While the efforts of national fraternities and sororities to stamp out hazing continue unabated, there are still incidences of serious hazing combined with the abuse of alcohol occurring across the country. At the University of...
READ MORE

ALPHA PHI ALPHA INVOKES NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP MORATORIUM

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Alpha Phi Alpha, the fraternity of Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, W.E.B. Dubois and numerous other prominent African-Americans, took the dramatic step of halting all new membership intakes for all of its undergraduate chapters effective...
READ MORE

OREGON AMENDS HAZING STATUTE

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke The Oregon legislature recently passed, and Governor Ted Kulongoski signed, Senate Bill 444, which amends Oregon’s hazing statute, found at O.R.S. 163.197.  The statute changed the definition of “haze” by adding numerous specific activities that are...
READ MORE

FAMILY SUES UTAH STATE; STUDENTS SENTENCED

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As reported in the January 2009 issue of Fraternal Law, the death of Michael Starks at Utah State University led to criminal charges being filed against two fraternities and members of both of those chapters....
READ MORE

HAZING LEADS TO LAWSUIT, CRIMINAL CHARGES

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com “I don’t regret joining this Fraternity,” Brent Whiteside was quoted in the January 6, 2009 Richmond Register saying about Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.  “What they stand for is what I want to be.  There were...
READ MORE

COURT UPHOLDS DAMAGE AWARD AGAINST UNIVERSITY OF IOWA

James Harvey The Iowa Supreme Court recently upheld an unprecedented award of damages against the University of Iowa and one of its top officials in favor of the former local chapter of Phi Delta Theta.1  The ruling brings to an...
READ MORE

Default Judgment In Texas Set Aside

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As reported in the November 2008 issue of Fraternal Law, in October, a Travis County Texas Trial Court judge had issued a $16.2 million default judgment against both National Sigma Alpha Epsilon and its chapter...
READ MORE

DEATH LEADS TO CHARGES AT UTAH STATE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The death of Michael Starks, an 18-year old freshman at Utah State University, has led to criminal charges against two fraternity chapters and 12 Greek members who are alleged to have been involved in his...
READ MORE

SIGMA ALPHA EPSILON ORDERED TO PAY $16.2 MILLION

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke In November 2006, Tyler Cross, a freshman at the University of Texas, fell to his death from a fifth floor balcony at his off-campus dormitory.  Cross was a pledge of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.  The police investigation...
READ MORE

DEATH AT WABASH COLLEGE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Early in October Johnny Smith was found dead in a pool of his own vomit in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house at Wabash College.  The Indianapolis Star reports that the County Coroner labeled alcohol...
READ MORE

UPDATE ON RIDER HAZING DEATH

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke As previously reported in Fraternal Law, Gary DeVercelly, an 18-year-old pledge of Phi Kappa Tau at Rider University, died in March 2007 after drinking a large amount of vodka.  Four fraternity members and two Rider administrators...
READ MORE

Fraternity Charged With Hazing

The Phi Mu Delta chapter at the University of New Hampshire has been charged with hazing and facilitating an underage drinking party.  Two students were found unresponsive with possible alcohol poisoning at the chapter house following a party at the...
READ MORE

LOSS OF CHARTER LEADS TO LITIGATION

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Sigma Sigma Sigma Chapter at Missouri State had been on campus there since 1945.  In recent years, the Chapter had some problems, including a reported seven criminal reports from the House since October 2006,...
READ MORE

RESULTS OF IN-DEPTH HAZING STUDY RELEASED

Daniel McCarthy Two professors at the University of Maine, Drs. Elizabeth J. Allan and Mary Madden, recently spearheaded one of the most in-depth and thorough hazing studies ever conducted.  The initial findings of the study, entitled, Hazing in View: College...
READ MORE

HAZING HOTLINE, (1-888)NOT-HAZE), ENTERS 2ND YEAR

The National Anti-Hazing Hotline (1-888-668-4293) is now entering its second year in existence.  Twenty-seven national Greek organizations, including 17 men’s groups and 10 women’s groups, sponsored the first-year of the Hotline.  All 27 original sponsors return as sponsors for the...
READ MORE

DETECTING HAZING: WHY THE HAZERS MAKE IT EASY FOR THE REST OF US

David Westol In our Greek letter community, hazing is near the top of the pyramid in terms of potential for criminal and civil litigation.  Over forty states have hazing laws and several states have upgraded those to include felony status...
READ MORE

HAZING RESOURCES ON-LINE

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Though all Greek organizations have hazing prevention resources in place, it is wise to be familiar with the numerous outstanding resources available to victims of hazing.  In addition to the National Anti-Hazing Hotline (1-888-NOT-HAZE), many outstanding...
READ MORE

AEPI CLOSES CHAPTER AFTER HAZING REPORTS

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Beta Iota Chapter at Indiana University was recently closed following reports of hazing.  The chapter, which was started in 1958, was on a deferred suspension from IU at the time of the incident...
READ MORE

GW ESTABLISHES EMAIL HOTLINE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The January 24, 2008 issue of the GW Hatchett from George Washington University reported that the University has established its own hazing hotline that takes reports of hazing by anonymous emails.  According to the article,...
READ MORE

CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST RIDER U. OFFICIALS

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke filed hazing charges against five individuals, including two Rider University administrators, following the binge-drinking death of Gary DeVercelly.  Mr. DeVercelly, a pledge of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, died in March from alcohol poisoning.  His blood...
READ MORE

ARBITRATION CLAUSE IS ENFORCEABLE IN HAZING CASE

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke As previously reported in Fraternal Law, a twenty year-old junior “aspirant”1 at the University of Pennsylvania recently accused two members of the Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha of hazing.  The two members faced criminal charges...
READ MORE

MORE HAZING CHARGES AT CHICO STATE

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke As reported in the January 2006 edition of Fraternal Law, Matthew Carrington died in February 2005 of water intoxication following a night of hazing at the unrecognized Chi Tau fraternity at Chico State.  Following this incident,...
READ MORE

COLLEGE HAZING HAS A NEW ENEMY

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke As part of the ongoing attempt to end hazing on college campuses and particularly in Greek organizations, 19 international fraternities and sororities have joined together to establish a national Anti-Hazing Hotline.  The toll-free number is 1-888-NOT-HAZE...
READ MORE

HAZING DEATH LEADS TO CHARGES AGAINST FIVE, INCLUDING TWO RIDER UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Gary DeVercelly, an 18-year-old freshman at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey died on March 30, 2007 after attempting to drink an entire bottle of vodka at a “big-little night” event at the Phi Kappa Tau...
READ MORE

CHARGES FILED IN TEXAS HAZING CASE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On December 10, 2005, 18-year old Phanta “Jack” Phoummarath died of alcohol poisoning following a party at the University of Texas’ Lambda Phi Epsilon House.  On December 13, 2006, following a year-long investigation, a Travis...
READ MORE

INSURANCE COVERAGE DENIED IN GEORGIA CASE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In April of 2003, members of the Lambda Chi Alpha Chapter at the University of Georgia took a potential pledge to several Athens, Georgia area bars to “entice him to become a member.”  One of...
READ MORE

MEMBERS SENTENCED TO 2 YEARS FOR HAZING IN FLORIDA

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke “They tortured my son.”  Army Master Sgt. Mark Jones told the judge, according to the Associated Press.  “He wasn’t hazed.  He was tortured.” The first two fraternity members convicted under the new Florida hazing law each...
READ MORE

ΣΝ RECEIVES SUBPOENA

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Middle Tennessee State University has gone to court to obtain a subpoena which has been sent to the national offices of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.  The subpoena seeks information about alleged hazing at the Theta...
READ MORE

UNIVERSITY HIT WITH DAMAGES FOR USE OF ILLEGAL RECORDING

James Harvey The use of what a court described as “strong-arm tactics” and an illegal recording during university disciplinary proceedings has resulted in an award of more than $140,000 in damages to a fraternity.  As part of the award, punitive...
READ MORE

TRAGEDY LEADS TO OFF-CAMPUS FRATERNITY SYSTEM

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke Many of the most common and important topics discussed in Fraternal Law have all surfaced recently at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  The very real potential consequences of hazing and alcohol abuse were once again...
READ MORE

HAZING: A PRIMER AND REMINDER

Dan McCarthy & Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Despite the virtually universal effort of national and international Greek organizations to ban hazing and to discipline members who engage in it, periodic reports of hazing activities continue.  With the constant turnover...
READ MORE

FLORIDA HAZING LAW FAILS FIRST TEST

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In what was apparently the first effort to enforce Florida’s new tough anti-hazing law, the criminal prosecution of four fraternity members ended in a mistrial when the jury could not define “serious bodily injury.” In...
READ MORE

NPC RELEASED FROM LITIGATION

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In the fall of 2002, Jacqueline Gufrovich was in the process of pledging the Zeta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma.  She and other new members, apparently along with some of the actives, were engaged...
READ MORE

A DEATH IN TEXAS

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Hazing and alcohol continue to take a toll on college campuses, in spite of the efforts by national fraternities and colleges and universities which host fraternities to end the practice once and for all.  A...
READ MORE

“YOU KILLED MATTHEW WILLIAM CARRINGTON”

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com According to published reports, that is what the father of the deceased pledge of the Chi Tau Fraternity at California State University said in court at the time four members of the Fraternity were sentenced...
READ MORE

ALLEGED HAZING INJURY DRAWS LAWSUIT

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Chase Coslett, once a pledge of the Beta Eta Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity at Indiana University, filed suit in February of this year in the Monroe County Circuit Court in Indiana against the fraternity.1 ...
READ MORE

FLORIDA RECONSIDERS HAZING STATUTE

Robert Manley, Manley Burke At the impetus of Adam Hasner, a member of Phi Delta Theta and State Representative in Florida, the anti-hazing laws in Florida are in process of revision.  Florida House Bill 1261 revises the definition of hazing...
READ MORE

NEW HAMPSHIRE DEATH

Robert Manley, Manley Burke On October 20, 2003, a sorority woman at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire died when a sport utility vehicle with ten women inside went off the road.  Initial reports indicated that six of the women...
READ MORE

HAZING — THE CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As has previously been reported in Fraternal Law, most states now have laws making hazing a criminal act that can subject the wrongdoer to jail time and fines.  While the criminal act of hazing is...
READ MORE

HAZING PLAGUES GREEKS

Robert Manley, Manley Burke In a recent six-year period there were ten cases reported in the various case reporting systems involving hazing.  There were more cases, but others never reached the law books because they were settled or otherwise completed...
READ MORE

LIABILITY FROM ADVISOR'S FAILURE

Robert E. Manley, Manley Burke.  A chapter advisor who fails to properly implement a national fraternity policy against hazing can be liable to a victim of hazing because he breaches his duty to the victim. This was the holding of...
READ MORE

NEVADA DROWNING LEADS TO HAZING CHARGES

Timothy M. Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com At approximately 2:00 a.m. on October 10th, Albert Jerome Refuerzo Santos drowned in Manzanita Lake at the University of Nevada Reno. Santos was a freshman pledge of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Published reports indicate...
READ MORE

MIT -- THE FRATERNITY SETTLEMENT EMPHASIZES EDUCATION AND PREVENTION

Timothy M. Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Scott Kruger died at the age of 18 during his freshman year at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology. He attended a Phi Gamma Delta party where he was a pledge and consumed alcohol to...
READ MORE

CALIFORNIA TRAGEDY $100,000,000 LAWSUIT

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke On September 9, 2002, at an oceanfront state park near Playa del Rey, California, two young women - one the mother of a two-year old who was engaged to be married - were swept out...
READ MORE

ALFRED BANS FRATERNITIES

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke Benjamin Klein, an Alfred University junior, was found dead in a creek behind the Zeta Beta Tau House on February 12, 2002. Three and a half months later, Alfred University's Board of Trustees had...
READ MORE

IN THE HEADLINES

As this issue of Fraternal Law goes to press, a trial is scheduled to begin in Harrisonburg, Virginia of two James Madison University students. The members of SAE are charged with six counts of hazing. Virginia is now one of...
READ MORE

OHIO COURT DECLARES HAZING STATUTE VAGUE

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke In a newly reported decision, an Ohio trial court struck down a portion of Ohio's Anti-Hazing statute for vagueness, but allowed a hazing victim's claim to proceed. Charles Carpetta was a student at the...
READ MORE

BEYOND THE FRATERNITY HOUSE - ATHLETIC TEAM HAZING EXPOSED

Gary E. Powell Within the past year, the popular press has paid a great deal of attention to hazing occurring in the context of athletics. In August 1999, Alfred University released a comprehensive, empirical study on ''initiation rights and athletics."...
READ MORE

$930,000.00 AWARDED IN KENTUCKY HAZING CASE

Gary E. Powell On July  30,  1999,  a  Kentucky  jury  awarded over $930,000.00  to  a  former  University  of  Louisville  student who claimed he was badly beaten as a result of hazing by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.  Shawn A. Blackston...
READ MORE

NEBRASKA UNIVERSITIES HAVE DUTY TO PROTECT STUDENTS AGAINST HAZING

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke In October, the Supreme Court of Nebraska ruled that universities may be liable for injuries caused by hazing.1 Jeffrey Knoll was a pledge of the Phi Gamma Delta (Fin) Fraternity at the University of...
READ MORE

ANTI-HAZING STATUTES

The following is a compilation of current state statutes that outlaw hazing. Typically, statutes prohibit any willful action that recklessly or intentionally endangers the physical health of a student; some statutes  include the mental health  of  a student as well....
READ MORE

NUWER'S WRONGS OF PASSAGE REVIEWED

Wrongs of Passage (Indiana University Press), is the second book by Hank Nuwer to examine the tragedies of hazing. Nuwer, whose first book, Broken Pledges, examined in detail the alcohol-related death of Chuck Stenzel at Alfred University, in his latest...
READ MORE

SPLIT IN CIRCUITS CAUSES UNCERTAINLY IN LOUISIANA

Christopher A. Wagner In May, the Louisiana Second Circuit  Court of Appeal held the State of Louisiana and a national fraternity liable for injuries caused to a pledge during a hazing incident1. This decision runs counter to a similar case...
READ MORE

HAZING IN NEW YORK STATE LEADS TO CRIMINAL & CIVIL PENALTIES

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke A New York Appellate Court recently held that New York's criminal statute against hazing can form the basis for a civil suit by the hazing victim against the perpetrator. Binaya Oja was a 17-year...
READ MORE

ALABAMA SHIFTS RISK OF HAZING TO PLEDGE

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke In a surprising decision issued on December 4, 1998, the Supreme Court of Alabama held that a pledge assumes the risk of being hazed when seeking to join a fraternity and therefore has no...
READ MORE

CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AT MIT

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke 'We sent our son to MIT for five weeks and came down here and picked him up in a box...." Darlene Krueger, mother of Scott Krueger. The heartsickness of Scott Krueger's mother was evident...
READ MORE

NATIONAL NOT LIABLE FOR HAZING IN ALABAMA

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals recently acted to shield the Kappa Alpha Order, Inc. (a national fraternal organization) from a civil suit involving particularly disgusting hazing while allowing claims against the local KA...
READ MORE

ALCOHOL DEATH AT CLARKSON

Gary E. Powell On Saturday night, February 8, the members of the Theta Chi Chapter at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, invited 21 men who were interested in joining the fraternity to their off-campus chapter house. All of the...
READ MORE