Texas: College Deaths and Hazing Injuries
Client v. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity et al. With Mary Alice McLarty, Esq. of Dallas, Texas, represented a young man who sustained severe injuries when he was beaten and compelled to drink gallons of water in a highly-publicized incident of hazing at Southern Methodist University. Suit was filed in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas. Depositions of national fraternity representatives demonstrated numerous prior risk management violations and inadequate supervision by the national fraternity. A substantial settlement was obtained by the client.
Estates of Numerous Deceased College Students v. Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, et al. Represented the families of five young students who were killed on the side of the road near a fraternity party sponsored by the Pi Eta Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon at Texas A&M University. The fraternity is located next to a 5 lane, unlit 65 m.p.h. highway, and it closed the gates to its parking lot and reserved those safe spaces as a "perk" for its own members. Others were directed to park on the highway shoulder, despite the fact that the police had warned the fraternity that this was unsafe and that it had to do something about this practice. Discovery demonstrated that the fraternity engaged in numerous violations of its own risk-management rules, and that it considered "safe and adequate" parking at this location a "basic safety consideration." Yet, it had a long-standing practice of directing its invited guests to park on the highway shoulder - in harm's way. Despite this and other compelling evidence, the trial court dismissed the action (without issuing a written opinion) and the families' appeals all the way to the Texas Supreme Court were denied, reflecting how justice can still be elusive even in the most compelling of circumstances. Legal briefs identifying the facts and circumstances underlying this tragedy (and telling the whole story) are available upon request. One substantial financial settlement was obtained on behalf of one family under its uninsured motorist policy.