A judge has denied a motion to dismiss a hazing lawsuit against Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. Brent Whiteside, a student at Eastern Kentucky University, filed a lawsuit against the Philadelphia-based organization in January. It’s alleged in the suit that the fraternity had a total disregard for the student’s health, safety and welfare. The student sought admission into the EKU chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi in spring 2008. The suit says the fraternity is responsible for the hazing he sustained.
Kappa Alpha Psi filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming the national organization had no duty to supervise the local chapters’ members. The judge denied the motion. It was alleged in the lawsuit that the members of the EKU Kappa chapter repeatedly beat the student with their hands, fists, feet, paddles and canes as part of initiation rituals. This went on for a period from about January 29th to March 7, 2008. Members of the University of Kentucky chapter of the fraternity allegedly joined the others in the rituals on March 6th and at that time repeatedly punched and slapped the student. He was later hospitalized with kidney failure.
It’s further alleged that Kappa Alpha Psi recklessly failed to supervise its members, which resulted in Whiteside’s “serious and permanent physical injuries as well as mental impairment, anguish, embarrassment and humiliation.” It was alleged that the student was unable to complete his spring 2008 semester at EKU, suffered lost wages and an impairment of his future earning capacity and that he will continue to incur significant medical expenses. Punitive damages are also being sought from the organizations.
As a matter of interest, three fraternity members, who were charged in January in relation to the student’s hazing, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault charges. They were sentenced to various lengths of home incarceration and will testify for the injured student and against the fraternity in the civil lawsuit.