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Former LSU Fraternity Member Sentenced in Hazing Death

Former LSU Fraternity Member Sentenced in Hazing Death

In a previous post we reported that former Louisiana State University student Matthew Naquin had been convicted of negligent homicide in the September 2017 fraternity hazing death of Maxwell Gruver. As a result of that conviction, in November of last year a judge sentenced Naquin to 5 years in prison, with 2½ years of that sentence suspended. During a court appearance on January 17th of this year, Naquin agreed to revoke his appeal bond and an additional charge of tampering with evidence was dismissed by prosecutors. Naquin was taken into custody after his court appearance to begin serving his sentence.


According to evidence presented during the trial 18-year-old Maxwell “Max” Gruver was a pledge of LSU’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity. On the night of September 13, 2017 Gruver and other Phi Delta Theta pledges were ordered to participate in “Bible Study” and forced to chug 190-proof liquor if they gave wrong answers to questions about the fraternity or could not recite the Greek alphabet. Gruver was later found unconscious on a couch at the fraternity house and died shortly after arriving at a local hospital. An autopsy revealed that Gruver died from acute alcohol poisoning and that, at the time of his death, his blood alcohol level was 0.496, six times the level needed to convict on a DUI/DWI charge in Louisiana.

On October 11th, 2017, 10 Phi Delta Theta members who had been present at the fraternity house on September 13th – 14th, and who had taken an active role in the “Bible Study” ritual, were arrested and charged with misdemeanor hazing. Among those 10 was Matthew Naquin, who was later charged with felony negligent homicide in connection with Gruver’s death. Phi Delta Theta has since been banned from the LSU campus until at least 2033.


The tragic, and unnecessary, death of Maxwell Gruver led the Louisiana Legislature to pass what is usually called the Maxwell Gruver Act. This law makes fraternity hazing a crime under Louisiana law, with penalties ranging from a misdemeanor conviction punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail to a felony conviction carrying a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison if hazing results in a death. Sadly, it took a death for this law to be placed in Louisiana’s criminal code.

As a personal injury law firm that represents the victims of fraternity hazing, we are all too familiar with the fact that many colleges and universities have traditionally viewed fraternity hazing and other types of fraternity misconduct as harmless “boys will be boys” antics. Over the years we have seen this attitude lead to literally hundreds of injuries and, as was the case with Maxwell Gruver, a senseless death. In many such incidents, the only legal option available to hazing victims and their families is to file a lawsuit against the fraternity.

Contacting a fraternity hazing injury lawyer

If your child was injured during a fraternity hazing ritual, or as a result of some other type of fraternity misconduct, we invite you to contact the fraternity hazing lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, a national personal injury law practice with offices located throughout the country to arrange a free review of your child’s fraternity hazing injury case and first consultation with our fraternity hazing injury lawyer.

When you contact our firm to arrange your case review and initial consultation with our fraternity hazing injury layer, there is never a charge of any kind and no obligation that you hire our firm as your legal counsel. Should you decide that a lawsuit should be filed, and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all costs related to preparing your fraternity hazing injury lawsuit for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement we are prepared to win for you.

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