A lower court judge previously ruled that a fraternity could not be sued in connection with a deadly crash. However, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed this ruling yesterday and is allowing the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity to be sued by the victims’ family members. In early 2003, a DKE pledge was driving four Yale students back from a DKE event in New York City. The pledge, exhausted from the recent hazing he’d endured during DKE’s “Hell Week,” slammed the SUV he was driving into a tractor-trailer that had crashed earlier and was sitting idle on Interstate 95. The crash killed four Yale University students, including two members of the school’s baseball team.
The crash killed the DKE pledge, Sean Fenton, 20, and three of the four backseat passengers – Andrew Dwyer, Nicolas Grass and Kyle Burnat, all 19. Five other students that were in the SUV were injured. In 2005, after the administrator of Grass’s estate filed a suit against the national office of DKE, the Yale chapter of DKE, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and two construction companies who had done work on the highway, the lower court ruled that it could not sue the fraternity. The initial complaint alleged that the fraternity leaders failed to provide safe transportation home from the event and that they negligently chose Fenton as the driver after he had been up for 20 hours straight prior to the accident. The estate also alleged that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the construction companies were “liable for alleged safety hazards at the highway construction site where the tractor trailer crashed.”
Lawyers for DKE stated that the fraternity should not be held liable because the crash was unforeseeable. The lower court stated that the fraternity leaders did not owe the passengers a “duty of care” while driving them from New York City to New Haven. The Supreme Court disagreed and the duty did exist.
Court: Fraternity can be sued in fatal Yale crash, seeks $10M, www.miamiherald.com September 19, 2012.
Four young men tragically lost their lives far too soon and five others were injured because of one careless decision. Now, four families are trying to learn to cope without their sons. Fraternities have been in the news more frequently as the death toll rise at Greek events continues to rise. The automobile accident attorneys at the Friedland Law Group understand the despair and frustration families feel after their loved one is unjustly taken from them. If you believe your loved one suffered as a result of another’s negligent actions, contact Broward’s expert wrongful death lawyers at the Friedland Law Group today. The personal injury lawyers have devoted their careers to helping families and victims recover compensation for their injuries and losses. Call (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation.
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