The family of an individual who had been pledging a fraternity at Clemson University and turned up dead has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The wrongful death lawsuit names as defendants the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter at Clemson University, as well as three brothers in the fraternity.
Tucker Hipps, who had been elected pledge class president, had been pledging the Sigma Phi Epsilon at Clemson University. According to the family, Hipps had last been seen during an early-morning run with fraternity members on September 22. Later that afternoon, his body was found in Lake Hartwell. The Hipps family believes that the fraternity and several brothers are to blame for their son’s death.
Allegations in Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The lawsuit lays out allegations involving the early-morning run and subsequent confrontation involving Hipps and other fraternity members. According to the lawsuit, Hipps had been responsible for bringing breakfast for fraternity members before the run, but apparently Hipps forgot or did not have enough money. This allegedly angered the fraternity members.
During the run, one fraternity member allegedly confronted Hipps on a bridge about not bringing breakfast. Hipps allegedly then went over the bridge and into the lake. According to the lawsuit, the fraternity has a long-standing tradition of “requiring, pressuring, encouraging and forcing” pledges to jump off bridges into the lake and swim to shore.” Fraternity members allegedly ran back to campus, but one member allegedly stayed at the lake to look for Hipps.
The following afternoon the fraternity members allegedly tried to cover up what happened. One pledge allegedly texted Hipps’s girlfriend and said that he spotted Hipps in the library that afternoon. Furthermore, fraternity members allegedly deleted text messages and phone calls.
Liability Under Wrongful Death Lawsuit
While the toxicology reports came back clean, the family believes that Hipps was not in proper condition to participate in the early morning run. The family claims that the fraternity called Hipps several times during the night and woke him up early in the morning. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the fraternity asked the school for permission to hold the run, but never received a response back. The lawsuit also names Clemson University as a defendant and believes the university and its employees had a duty to stop the fraternity’s hazing policies.
The family believes that the fraternity and its members contributed to their son’s death. The family issued a statement saying that the death” was a senseless and avoidable tragedy.” They believe the culture of hazing and inappropriate conduct by the fraternity caused their son’s death. The Hipps family has filed two lawsuits: one for wrongful death and another for personal injury. Each of the lawsuits seeks damages in excess of $25 million in damages.
Contact a Greenville Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Advice
If a family member has died as a result of another person’s negligence, an experienced Greenville Wrongful Death Attorney can help protect your rights. David R. Price, Jr. is an experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Greenville, South Carolina.
Contact David R. Price, Jr. for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. You can call us today at 864.271.2636 or visit our office at 318 West Stone Avenue in Greenville.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.