Lawsuits against fraternities are becoming a growing matter of public interest. Fraternities are risky organizations for young people to be involved in given the tremendous history of rape, sexual assault, serious injury and death.
A recent article by Bloomberg News stated that since 2005, more than 60 people—the majority of them students—have died in incidents linked to fraternities. Indeed, many fraternities’ own crisis management plans reveal that in the “foreseeable future” there may be “the death or serious injury” of a healthy young person at a fraternity function. Virtually all of incidents occurring in fraternities share one common theme: the overconsumption of alcohol.
National fraternities are well aware of the epidemic occurring inside their local chapters and have taken extraordinary efforts to protect themselves from any responsibility for what happens to their members or to people hurt by their members’ actions. The national fraternities’ logic is simple: better to dodge responsibility than to be responsible. National fraternities have developed “risk management” policies that lay out a wide range of (optional) best practices for its local chapters. They have done this in order to protect themselves by transferring as much of their liability as possible to outside parties, including its own members. Quite simply, national fraternities have turned a blind eye to what is occurring in their local chapter houses.
The only way to “encourage” national fraternities to eliminate dangerous alcohol abuse, hazing and sexual assault in its local chapters is to hold national fraternities liable when they fail to take reasonable steps to discourage this dangerous conduct. All too often, national fraternities are given a free pass which just maintains the status quo.
That is why it is imperative to hire a law firm that has the knowledge, experience and record of holding national fraternities liable in cases involving serious injury and death, including hazing and sexual assault.