Attorneys have told a Douglas County judge that a settlement is in the works involving a lawsuit against a Kansas University fraternity over the 2009 death of a pledge who had alcohol poisoning.
The parties have informed District Judge Michael Malone they planned to submit an order to the judge outlining the settlement possibly by the end of this week, court personnel said Monday.
Jay Wren filed the lawsuit after his son, Jason Wren, a 19-year-old freshman from Littleton, Colo., was found dead March 8, 2009, at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter house, 1301 West Campus Road.
The suit alleged fraternity members failed to seek medical help for Wren despite his intoxication and a head injury. Wren had used a fake ID earlier that night to drink alcohol at a restaurant and continued to drink liquor later at the chapter house, according to the suit against the chapter and its national association, 10 unnamed chapter members and the Kansas Alpha House Corp., which owns the chapter house.
John Stacy, the housing corporation’s president, was added as a defendant in December, but Malone also ruled then that Jay Wren could not seek punitive damages.
Jason Wren was living in the SAE house as a pledge after he violated KU’s alcohol policy and was no longer allowed to live in a residence hall. According to the autopsy, his blood-alcohol content was 0.362 percent, which is more than four times the legal limit to drive in Kansas.
The plaintiffs argued in court last year the chapter had not changed its practices enough regarding underage drinking since Wren’s death. However, attorneys for the fraternity and housing corporation said the chapter has taken proper steps, including expelling nearly two dozen active members after an April 2010 alcohol violation.
Attorneys representing Wren, Stacy, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternal Association and housing corporation did not return messages Monday seeking comment.