Can Hazing Lead to a Civil Lawsuit?

Can Hazing Lead to a Civil Lawsuit?

While hazing has been occurring for hundreds of years in a variety of settings, the ritualized practice is extremely common among colleges and universities to this day.

The Texas Education Code, Chapter 37 defines hazing as any intentional or reckless act that occurs on or off campus that is directed against a student, and that endangers the student’s physical or mental health or safety for the purpose of pledging or initiating into an organization.

Under Texas law, the term “hazing” includes:

  • Calisthenics
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Any sort of physical brutality
  • Placing harmful substances on the body
  • Exposure to the elements
  • Confinement in small spaces
  • Activities involving alcohol or drugs
  • Consumption of food or other harmful substances

Essentially, any type of activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely effects the physical or mental health or safety of the student is categorized as hazing.

Hazing Lawsuits in Plano & Dallas

Hazing across the country has proven to be a dangerous and sometimes deadly practice. So much though that Texas legislatures enacted anti-hazing laws under Section 37.152 and Section 37.153.

If you, or your son or daughter was injured during a hazing activity, and if you are worried that they consented to the activity, you do not have to be concerned because under Section 37.154, consent is not a defense.

If a student is seriously injured or killed in a hazing incident, then a civil lawsuit can be brought against the individuals involved, the local chapter of the fraternity, and in some cases the college or university.

According to U.S. News & World Report, in 2008, a Texas judge awarded $16.2 million to the parents of a University of Texas student who fell to his death after being hazed by a campus fraternity.

Not only was the victim given large amounts of alcohol, the lawsuit said that the pledge was subjected to sleep deprivation, beatings, and “other acts of assault or battery” in the days leading up to his death.

Contact the Zendeh Law Firm for excellent legal representation in a hazing case.