October 26, 2008
$16.2 Million Default Award in Hazing Death Lawsuit
The family of a Marietta, Georgia, college student, Tyler Cross, who died in an alleged frat hazing at the University of Texas was awarded $16.2 million in a default judgment against the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Cross, a 2006 Lovett School graduate, fell from the fifth floor of a dormitory during freshman pledge week in the run-up to SAE’s renowned “Jungle Party.” Texas law-enforcement officials discovered that Cross and other pledges had been given half-gallon liquor bottles to drink the night before he died.
Cross’ blood-alcohol level registered 0.19 at the time of his death, more than double the legal driving limit in Texas, after a week of sleep deprivation from hazing, according to the lawsuit.
It's not entirely clear why there was a default judgment; the fraternity exists and blames the default on an administrative error. They are seeking to remove the default and defend the suit. A suit against the alumni advisory group and the housing corporation is pending as well.
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