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Northern Illinois Students Involved in Hazing Death Appear in Court

The Chicago Tribune reports that four Northern Illinois University Students who have been charged in the felony hazing death of a fellow student are scheduled to appear for the first time Friday in Sycamore, Illinois. As explained earlier, the students are accused of causing the death of a 19-year-old finance major from Palatine, Illinois, who died of alcohol-induced heart trouble after a night of binge drinking during an initiation party.

So far, twenty-two young Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members have been charged in connection with the young freshman’s death. Five are facing felony charges while the other seventeen face misdemeanor hazing charges. Eighteen of the twenty-two have surrendered to authorities while the others are currently out of state but will cooperate once they return to campus after the holiday break. The details of the night paint an all too common college picture. The young victim was partaking in a pledge week party called “Parents Night” that was sponsored by the fraternity and its associated sorority. The pledges were required to move from room to room in the fraternity and were quizzed along the way by senior members of the fraternity and sorority, who then provided them with alcohol. This caused the young victim to become so drunk, that his blood alcohol level was almost five times the legal driving limit and eventually was the major cause of his fatal heart arrhythmia.

Northern Illinois University is also taking action. They announced that 31 students will face disciplinary hearings for participating in the party. These students must understand that hazing is serious and is not to be tolerated. The death of this young freshman was due to the gross negligence of the fraternity and its members. This sad story is an example of a wrongful death. The term wrongful death in the legal context refers to a death that was caused by the fault of another person. Some examples of wrongful deaths include deaths by drunk driving, a defective product, nursing home negligence or a doctor’s failure to diagnose a fatal disease.

Wrongful death lawsuits are usually filed by family members or those that are beneficiaries of the decedent. Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers have over a decade of experience in obtaining verdicts and settlements in wrongful death cases for the families of the victims. When dealing with a wrongful death case, it is very important to choose a firm with the experience and resources necessary to handle wrongful death matters. Our attorneys have recovered millions in wrongful death verdicts and settlements for families. This outstanding record has earned us the reputation as one of the leading wrongful death law firms in Illinois. If a loved one has suffered a wrongful death, contact our offices for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.