Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Fraternity, college and liquor store named in wrongful death suit

The parents of a Pennsylvania university student have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf. At least one of the defendants in the wrongful death suit involves a fraternity that is blamed for the young man's death.

The parents of the student are claiming negligence on the part of the fraternity for knowingly allowing the consumption of alcohol by underage individuals at on-campus parties. The university has been brought into this lawsuit as well. A liquor store has also been named as a defendant for supplying alcohol to underage individuals.

There is speculation that a jury verdict in this lawsuit could be in the millions of dollars from all of the parties named in the lawsuit. Whether this is truly the case is dependent upon how the facts of this case are presented by the attorneys involved.

Though only 20-years old at the time, the deceased student was able to purchase beer from a liquor store as the person selling the beer did not check for identification. At approximately 3:00 a.m., the student approached a stair case and then tripped and fell over a railing that was described as "deficient." The student landed on his head, sustained extensive brain injuries and died just a few days later.

It's likely that the defendants will claim the student was also culpable in what occurred. The student had been drinking for a number of hours before this accident occurred. However, the parents plan on focusing in on the purportedly defective railing and its role in this accident.

Not all personal injury victims prevail at trial - nor should they all prevail. However, there are circumstances where a party doesn't maintain a premise, fails to obey a law or commits some other action that results in the injury or death of such an individual. We cannot know all of those circumstances unless both sides have their say in an orderly process.

Source: The Daily Pennsylvanian, "Penn, Phi Kappa Sigma implicated in lawsuit," by Seth Zweifler, Sep. 19, 2012

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