Advertisement

Archive for Friday, January 27, 2012

Lawsuit filed after injury at KU Fiji party moving to Douglas County

Kansas University placed Phi Gamma Delta on probation for two years after concluding a hazing investigation in October 2010. The investigation followed an incident during which KU freshman Matt Fritzie was injured while diving into a makeshift pool at the fraternity house on Sept. 17, 2010.

Kansas University placed Phi Gamma Delta on probation for two years after concluding a hazing investigation in October 2010. The investigation followed an incident during which KU freshman Matt Fritzie was injured while diving into a makeshift pool at the fraternity house on Sept. 17, 2010.

January 27, 2012

Advertisement

The lawsuit filed after a Kansas University Phi Gamma Delta pledge was injured at a 2010 party will be moved to Douglas County District Court.

Mike Ketchmark, an attorney representing Matt Fritzie, who was a freshman pledge from Stilwell when he was hurt at the party, said Friday that he intended to file suit here against the housing corporation that owns the fraternity house at 1540 La., its national organization and several others.

Fritzie’s attorneys filed a civil suit in December 2010 in Jackson County Circuit Court in Missouri. The Missouri court was chosen, the attorneys said, primarily because David R. Smith, a housing corporation member and trustee, had sent letters, emails and made phone calls from his office in Kansas City, Mo., to parents of new pledges who had voiced concerns about past conduct at the fraternity. But Missouri Judge Brian Wimes last June rejected that argument and found his court did not have jurisdiction because the chapter is in Kansas.

The Missouri lawsuit continued for about more six months with Smith as the only defendant, because his attorneys had not raised the jurisdictional issue. According to court records, the Missouri suit was completely dismissed last week.

In the Missouri lawsuit, Fritzie’s attorneys claimed he was ordered to dive into a makeshift pool on Sept. 17, 2010, at the “Fiji Island” party. Fiji is a nickname for the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

The suit said Fritzie was permanently paralyzed from his injuries. He was taken that night to KU Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., and later transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver for treatment and rehabilitation. The national fraternity was named as a defendant because the suit claimed at least one member of its national headquarters and members of the chapter house association visited the house during a three-week period before the party when the pledges were forced to construct the makeshift pool.

KU placed the fraternity on a two-year probationary period after finding the chapter violated KU’s Code of Student Rights of Responsibilities for hazing. The probation includes alcohol-free housing through this school year.

But KU officials said they were not able to substantiate the hazing at the party resulted in physical injuries.

Comments

Evan Ridenour 3 years ago

Would he have jumped off a bridge if they had told him to? Not much of a difference between diving head first into a 6 inch deep "pool" and jumping off a bridge.

Where is the personal responsibility?

Jayhawk1958 2 years, 12 months ago

With acts of perversion so......Faithfully submitted Douglas C. Neidermier Sargent of Arms.

Don Whiteley 2 years, 12 months ago

You're right, Greek organizations are not like the movie. The snobbery, shunning, and social pressures are far worse than the movie. In her senior year, my daughter dropped out of a KU sorority because the social pressures of "sisterhood" (the need to be just like everyone else in the house) was overwhelming; not to mention that someone in the house kept stealing from her. The sorority voted to shun her, which meant no girl from the house was allowed to speak with her. That part of Greek life hasn't changed since I was in college. That's the kind of pressure in a Greek organization that makes people do stupid things for acceptance. And that's why incoming Freshmen need to be warned about the danger of Greek societies, just like they need to be warned about the danger of alcohol and drugs.

begin60 2 years, 12 months ago

Douglas County has probably the most biased, conflict-of-interest courts anyone could have the misfortune to deal with.

begin60 2 years, 12 months ago

Privacy law mostly relies on a the principle self-disclosure. If the victim openly reports his injury, then it should be admitted. However, it is unconscionable for ignorant street harassers to bother strangers in public in ways that potentially cause civil rights and privacy law issues. Ignorance and aggression like this scares the living pudding out of people. It turns Lawrence into a complete, unlivable hellhole.

KU is really great about twisting privacy laws in their favor when the occasion presents itself. Otherwise though they are completely vicious and unethical about violating legal and ethical privacy rights of workers and students. They participate in the going warped Southern culture that encourages street harassment as a social good, which easily adds up to an illegal violation of privacy when authorities get involved instead of just the random mobs of completely undiverse, plug-dumb blokes with nothing better to do than approach strangers.

In KU's case the involvement usually means brutal southern-justice revenge instead of fair, legally required due process. Their General Counsel and HR unit underwrite this--completely punitive and abusive, especially when they get police involved to undserhandedly frame the victims of their own malfeasance and incompetence.

Tony Kisner 2 years, 12 months ago

Hey, haven't I seen you in church. Back pew?

rockchalker52 2 years, 12 months ago

I sense a grin in there! I know you iz a grinner! :-o)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.