Household of Teen Who Died at Washington University Fraternity Files Suit – Insurance Journal

3August 2020

Short article 0 Comments In his very first term at Washington State University, Sam Martinez saw or took part in a number of activities that his family states was a pattern of hazing at Alpha Tau Omega

( ATO), the fraternity he wanted to join. Pledges were quizzed on the history of the fraternity and required to eat raw onions if they responded to improperly, and handled outdoor camping journeys where they were tackled and beat up. A week prior to Martinez died, each promise was handcuffed to a female vowing a sorority and then secured a room; the secret was at the bottom of a vodka bottle the pair needed to take in.

On the November 2019 night prior to Martinez died, he and another trainee consumed the bulk of a half-gallon of rum, cheered on by members of the fraternity.

He became unconscious within 2 hours, however no one called for medics until 8:30 the next morning. The details of the Bellevue 19-year-old’s death Nov. 12 and the events leading up to it are detailed in a suit submitted Friday by Martinez’s household that alleges WSU, the fraternity, its Pullman chapter and some particular members bear obligation for his death, The Seattle Times reported.

Martinez, a graduate of Newport High School who loved to play sports and wished to study organisation and entrepreneurship at WSU, died of acute alcohol intoxication. His death was categorized as an accident by the Whitman County coroner.

Martinez’s parents have actually tried to get as much information as possible about the circumstances of that night– and advocated for sweeping changes to a system that they say is responsible for their son’s death. The injury is “as fresh and deep as the day police knocked on our door,” his mother, Jolayne Houtz, wrote in a Seattle Times op-ed. She sleeps beside his ashes each night.

“We are speaking up now, at the beginning of the academic year, as moms and dads and trainees are heading back to school and considering the school year ahead,” said the former Seattle Times reporter. “We lost our child and I actually can’t bear to consider any other boys or any other kids being lost to the very same thing.”

Houtz said the suit, filed in King County Superior Court, is a call for reform in fraternities and colleges that enable fraternities to run with little oversight. Greek organizations can have benefits, his dad, Hector Martinez, said, keeping in mind that his child and other trainees had actually offered by giving out presents to kids just weeks prior to his death.

” It does not surpass the terrible dangers, “Houtz added.” When you promise a fraternity, you shouldn’t be vowing your life. We feel like Sam was just pushed to the edge by this routine and then delegated die alone.”

A trial date is arranged for August 2021, according to Seattle lawyer Rebecca Roe, who is representing the household. They are seeking unspecified compensation for financial and noneconomic damages consisting of wrongful death, “pre-death discomfort and suffering,” fear of impending death and lost earning capability.

In Pullman, ATO lost its acknowledgment for six years and as part of a suspension agreement admitted to violating WSU’s standards of conduct including hazing, careless endangerment and providing alcohol to minors.

WSU did not respond to an ask for remark Friday. Alpha Tau Omega CEO Wynn Smiley declined to comment, composing in an email that the national company had actually not been made aware of the suit.

In January, the WSU Intrafraternity Council developed a nine-point initiative “in an effort to avoid any further tragedy” that consisted of a restriction on alcohol at “big-little” occasions, a requirement that each chapter host an alcohol education course and the development of a committee committed to lobby the Washington Legislature on laws related to hazing and other items that affect the WSU Greek neighborhood.

The suit filed by Martinez’s household signs up with a constant stream of legal allegations versus fraternities across the U.S. by pledges or members.

In January, the family of a Cornell University freshman who passed away after a “Christmas in October” event at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity took legal action against the university and the fraternity, according to the Ithaca Times.

A previous University of Arizona trainee filed a suit in April versus the university, Theta Chi fraternity, and chapter leaders after suffering what he claims was a chemical burn in his eye and a blood infection throughout hazing, according to The Arizona Republic.

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