The parents of Timothy Piazza, a Penn State University student who died while pledging a fraternity in 2017, have filed a lawsuit against 28 members of Beta Theta Pi, alleging they forced him to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol.
According to the lawsuit, the fraternity brothers organized a party where Timothy fell down the stairs and died at an initiation event for new pledges at the house. They allegedly made him drink life-threatening amounts of alcohol before his fatal fall. Timothy suffered excruciating pain and suffering for more than 11 hours after the incident because the members didn’t call for medical assistance right away.
Text messages exchanged between members allegedly show them trying to get rid of evidence of bringing alcohol to the party.
“The civil suit focuses on holding accountable the individuals who planned and participated in the reckless hazing activities which caused Tim’s death,” Piazza family lawyer Tom Kline said. “We expect this federal lawsuit to result in a trial to determine the shared responsibility of all those who contributed to the needless and senseless tragedy. We look to the civil justice system to obtain a full measure of accountability.”
The lawsuit also names St. Moritz Security Services, a company hired to enforce alcohol regulations, as a defendant.
Timothy’s parents, Jim and Evelyn Piazza, settled with Penn State for an undisclosed amount of money. The settlement also outlines safety reforms that encourage Greek organizations to participate in precautionary and educational measures.
Last week, the university announced Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform.
“Universities have been operating in a void and missing critical information, such as a consistent and cumulative nationwide look at Greek life on our campuses,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement about the center.