A former pledge’s lawsuit against a Kansas University fraternity claims that fraternity officials should have known members were breaking the rules before he was injured at a September party at the Phi Gamma Delta house.
In the lawsuit filed last week in Jackson County Circuit Court in Missouri, an attorney for Matt Fritzie, a freshman pledge from Stilwell, alleged at least one member of the fraternity’s national headquarters and members of the chapter house association visited the house during a three-week period when pledges were forced to construct a makeshift pool.
The suit alleges the pool was prohibited on the property by fraternity rules.
Matt Fritzie Lawsuit ( .PDF )
Fritzie was injured Sept. 17 after jumping into a homemade pool constructed of sandbags and tarp at the fraternity house, 1540 La. The suit also alleges Fritzie was ordered to dive into the pool during the “Fiji Island” party and became permanently paralyzed due to his injuries.
“Each of these people should have recognized that a pool was being constructed, and that doing so was dangerous and a violation of fraternity rules. Each person, however, negligently failed to notice the pool,” Fritzie’s attorneys wrote in the suit.
Defendants named in the lawsuit are the Phi Gamma Delta Chapter House Association, trustee and housing corporation member David R. Smith of Kansas City, Mo., and the fraternity’s national organization.
Bill Martin, executive director for the Phi Gamma Delta International Fraternity in Lexington, Ky., said Monday the organization could not yet respond to the allegations.
“It’s a matter that will be processed through the courts and through the normal process of litigation,” Martin said.
KU has placed the fraternity on a two-year probationary period after finding the chapter violated KU’s Code of Student Rights of Responsibilities for hazing, though KU officials say they were not able to substantiate that the hazing at the party resulted in physical injuries.
Fritzie was transferred from KU Hospital to Craig Hospital in Denver for further treatment and rehabilitation.