Mother Sues Bethune-Cookman University Over Hazing Death

A mother is suing Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) in Daytona Beach for wrongful death, alleging that the university did nothing to stop a fraternity hazing that she says led to her son’s death.

The woman’s son was a sophomore at the time of his death in Feb 2012 and had been attending the university on a band scholarship.

The lawsuit alleges that her son and several other fraternity pledges stayed up all night to study the fraternity’s history “in fear of what would happen if they did not memorize it accurately.” The pledges studied until 4 a.m. and then were awakened a half an hour later after a fraternity member called them and told them to come to his apartment for a quiz.

The lawsuit alleges that they drove together in one car and stayed at the apartment until 8 a.m. The woman’ son was killed as the group was driving home and the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The car crashed into a utility pole. Everyone else in the car survived.

The lawsuit alleges that the crash was caused by hazing-related sleep deprivation. It goes on to say that the university and the Greek-life coordinator at the time “had direct knowledge of previous hazing activities occurring in student groups associated with BCU, including (the) fraternity, and did little or nothing to discipline the activity.”

The lawsuit goes on to claim that the lack of discipline for hazing led university students to believe that they had carte blanche to continue the activity because the university’s anti-hazing policies were not being enforced.

The university denies that claim and stated that the university has a zero-tolerance policy towards hazing. An attorney for the fraternity denied that the organization was responsible for the death, claiming that students have stayed up for quizzes and exams “since quizzes and exams have existed.”

If you believe you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of an institution or organization, the wrongful death attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville Beach would like to discuss your legal options. Wrongful death lawsuits are often complicated affairs that require the deft and experienced legal representation that is our trademark. Call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online to arrange a free review of your case today.

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