In what has all the hallmarks of a college fraternity, 19-year old Anton Gridnev died during the early morning hours of Saturday, August 20. Emergency response personnel were called to the Texas A & M Sigma Nu fraternity house at about 4:30, where they found an unresponsive Gridnev. The university student was not breathing and paramedics performed CPR. Gridnev was taken to an area hospital, where he died.
Drugs and Hazing Rituals
Although the police investigation into the death of Anton Gridnev is ongoing, an early statement from the College Station Police Department indicated that when emergency personnel arrived at the fraternity house, fraternity brothers advised that the unconscious young man had ingested some type of opioid.
The use of mind-altering substances, including alcohol and what oftentimes are referred to as “hard drugs,” continue to play a role in fraternity initiation rituals. Despite laws and university regulations banning hazing, and laws prohibiting the possession or use of certain mind-altering substances, hazing continues apace at Texas institutions of higher education. Moreover, the abuse of mind-altering substances remains a significant problem in fraternity and sorority houses on college and university campuses in the Lone Star State.
The Investigation of the Death of Anton Gridnev
Although police are in the midst of investigating the death of Anton Gridnev, they did conduct a search of the fraternity house in the aftermath of Gridnev’s death. At the fraternity house, police officers found different types of illegal drugs on the premises. Four fraternity brothers were arrested and charged with different types of drug-related crimes.
Hazing is a Huge Problem
As mentioned, some effort has been made to bring hazing to an end. There are laws on the books addressing hazing. Texas college and universities with Greek systems all have regulations prohibiting hazing. Despite these legal niceties, hazing remains a common occurrence at colleges and universities across the state. This particularly is the case among fraternities, although sororities are not immune from the plague of hazing.
A startling fact is that over 50 college students were killed because of hazing in the United States in recent years. Literally thousands of other students have been physically, emotionally and psychologically injured because of hazing.
Recourse for Parents of a Hazing Victim: Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The parents of a student killed in what appears to be a hazing incident like that involving Anton Gridnev are not without an avenue of legal recourse. Of course, the police investigation into the student’s death continues. Whether or not criminal charges are lodged in a hazing case, parents do have civil remedy.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by parents who lose their child in a fraternity or sorority hazing incident. In Texas, a parent must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the incident that caused the death of a child. The failure to meet that deadline likely precludes a grieving parent from pursuing a lawsuit to obtain justice for a child killed because of hazing.
Parents who have lost their child because of hazing may be entitled to different types of compensation. This includes:
lost love and affection
Depending on the circumstances of a fraternity hazing incident that results in death, parents may also receive what are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages is an additional payment ordered in a lawsuit when the conduct of the defendant is deemed particularly egregious. For example, if the regional or national offices of the Sigma Nu fraternity received reports that pledges to the Texas A & M house were being forced to take mind-altering substances, and the regional or national office refused to act on such a complaint, punitive damages may be deemed appropriate.
Responsible Parties in a Fraternity Hazing Case
The reality is that a number of individuals and legal entities may be responsible for a fraternity hazing death. These include:
fellow fraternity brothers
A thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of a student’s death overseen by a skilled, experienced fraternity hazing lawyer is the only way in which all responsible parties can be identified. As mentioned previously, time and again in these types of cases, those involved on all levels take a deliberate tactic to keep silent about what occurred. Thus, even obtaining information about a hazing incident can prove to be a battle in and of itself.
Representation by a Fraternity Hazing Lawyer from The Doan Law Firm
Wrongful death cases arising from fraternity hazing are complicated and tough. Those individuals, institutions and organizations responsible for the welfare of students, including pledges of fraternity houses, typically erect what they hope will be an impenetrable wall of silence in the aftermath of a death. Determining everyone who is fault can be a daunting task.
Due to the challenges associated with a fraternity hazing wrongful death, parents need to retain the services of attorneys with specific experience in these types of cases. The Doan Law Firm has represented the victims of sorority and fraternity hazing, including in cases in which a promising young person like Anton Gridnev was killed.
A person harmed because of fraternity hazing can schedule an initial consultation with a fraternity hazing lawyer by calling The Doan Law Firm at (979) 803-0000. We are available to schedule an appointment around the clock, every day of the year. We can schedule appointment at a time convenient for a person in need of legal assistance. There is no charge for an initial consultation with a fraternity hazing attorney at The Doan Law Firm.
A consultation can be held at our office or at a person’s home or another location. We maintain offices throughout the state of Texas, including a convenient location that serves the legal needs of people in Bryan and College Station: