March 31, 2014
The family of a North Carolina fraternity pledge who allegedly died as a result of a hazing ritual filed a lawsuit against the university and several individuals they believe were involved in the death.
The Daily News reports that 22-year-old Robert Eugene Tipton Jr., who pledged the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity at High Point University, was found not breathing on March 26 at an off-campus apartment belonging to a fraternity member. An autopsy found the official cause of death to be a drug overdose from painkillers, but noted abrasions to Tipton’s head, neck and torso.
In the lawsuit, the family says the 22-year-old was “violently assaulted and battered” during a hazing ritual, which was led by the son of the University’s president.
Michale Qubein, whose father Dr. Nido R. Qubein, is president of High Point, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, reports the Daily News. Also named are fraternity member Marshall Jefferson and High Point director of security Jeffery A. Karpovich. Among the charges listed are wrongful death, assault and battery, negligence and civil conspiracy.
The lawsuit accuses Jefferson directly, stating he “violently assaulted and battered Tipton” at his off-campus apartment.
Additionally, the Greensboro News & Record reports that the lawsuit indicates the younger Qubein’s responsibility, contending that Tipton was “hazed viciously by members of Delta Sig at the direction of Qubein,” and that under him as pledge master and director of education, “Delta Sig ran wild on and near campus.”
Pertaining to Karpovich, the lawsuit claims “security workers were instructed by officers, managers and directors…to use the lowest level of enforcement possible — particularly with anything involving Qubein and his fraternity,” according to the News & Record.
Tipton’s family is seeking in excess of $10,000 in damages for wrongful death.
If you or someone you love is considering a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit, our dedicated Raleigh attorneys may be able to help you. Contact Kelly & West today to discuss the details of your case.
NOTE: Kelly & West is not representing the family mentioned in this news report.
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