The family of Robert Champion is getting ready to file a Florida wrongful death lawsuit against Florida A & M University. The 26-year-old student and marching band member died earlier this month from what is believed to be a hazing incident.
Following Champion’s death, the marching band director, Julian White, was fired. No arrests have been made over the incident so far-hazing is a third-degree felony in Florida-but four students have since been expelled.
Champion was unresponsive when he was found on a bus that was parked outside a hotel. Someone called 911 to report that Champion had finished throwing up and was not breathing.
The Florida wrongful death claim would likely blame the University and perhaps even the marching band of negligence. Those that initiated the hazing could also end up named as defendants.
This week, another women stepped forward claiming that she too was hazed at Florida A&M University by the marching band. Bria Hunter spoke to WFTV. Her initiation phase began in September and finally ended when she was rushed to the emergency room 11 days before Champion died. Hunter says that she was beaten on a few occasions and that other band members also were hazed.
Apparently other claims have been filed over alleged hazing incidents at FAMU. In the last dozen years, two lawsuits involving FAMU band members have been settled. Earlier this semester, at least 20 band members were suspended over incidents involving hazing.
Hazing can cause serious Miami personal injuries and even wrongful death. Hazing typically takes place when initiating members of certain groups–hazing can consist of harmless pranks or more dangerous activities that can place those being targeted at risk. Alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, and physical assault are among the more serious consequences. Many of those that are hazed are forced to participate in order to join or stay part of the group.
Family of FAMU drum major calls for culture change after son’s death, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 28, 2011
FAMU student talks to WFTV about hazing, WFTV, November 29, 2011
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$1.8M Miami-Dade Wrongful Death Settlement Reached in Coral Gables High School Student’s Fatal Stabbing, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 18, 2011
$10.3M Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Award Will Stand, Says the Florida Supreme Court, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 11, 2011
Miami-Dade Car Accident Lawsuit Filed in Florida Wrongful Death Case Against Coral Gables Teenager, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011