Family settles Pennsylvania wrongful death case

A college student died at a University of Pennsylvania fraternity party last year, and his parents brought a wrongful death lawsuit against a beer store, the university and the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity house. The student was at a New Year’s Eve party last year when he fell off a stairway and plunged 30 feet to his death. The wrongful death lawsuit sought unspecified damages.

The suit alleged the beer store allowed their son to buy alcohol beverages even though he was a minor. They also allege that selling him the beverages allowed the student the opportunity to consume the alcohol at the party, even though he was underage. The parents have settled their lawsuit with the beer store for $375,000. The Phi Kappa Sigma house where the frat party occurred settled with the parents for an estimated $3 million. The parents also settled the suit with the university, though the amount was not disclosed.

Before his death, the young man had been an athlete attending college in Ohio. The accusations against the frat house and university were not divulged, but it appears all of the parent’s claims made in the lawsuit have been settled in this wrongful death case. The college made no comment about the settlement terms with the student’s parents.

When a parent loses a loved one in such a tragic way, it can often lead to more questions than answers. Although this is certainly a sad case, the parents appear to have obtained justice against all of the parties who may have played a role in their son’s death. Pennsylvania parents who lose someone they love due to another’s negligence likely have legal rights available to them to pursue wrongful death claims through our state civil court system.

Source: Lower Southampton Patch, “Local Beer Store Settles in Wrongful Death Lawsuit,” Nicole Jenet, Dec. 3, 2012



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