BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in state court against a local fraternity and sorority. It comes in connection with the death of a freshman student in 2019.
This lawsuit comes after an 18-year-old student became so intoxicated at a fraternity rush event in a sorority house that he fell to his death only to be found the next morning.
This 94-page wrongful death lawsuit goes after Bloomsburg University’s Kappa Sigma Fraternity and Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority.
According to the lawsuit, Justin King was invited to a fraternity rush party in September 2019 at the sorority house, despite university rules stating freshmen must earn at least 12 credits before they can be recruited.
It goes on to say how he drank a potent, vodka-laced mixture known as “jungle juice” or “blackout water.” King was found dead down an embankment the next morning with brain, liver, and lung damage, a broken rib and other injuries.
“After, we all had to take a look at ourselves and look in the mirror and reflect. I think after that happened everyone just took a big step forward and like ‘hey, this can’t happen again. It’s terrible what happened,” said Noah Gush, President, Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity.
Pi Lambda Phi President Noah Gush says his fraternity is one of four left at the university.
“A lot more strict now definitely, with Nicole, the new head of Greek life. She tries to take care of us now so that nothing like that every happens again. It’s definitely a lot more under control now, a lot more safe,” said Gush.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants violated the Timothy J. Piazza anti-hazing law, a law enacted after the death of a young student at Penn State University in 2017. The law prohibits causing a student to consume enough alcohol to risk physical harm.
“The family is seeking money damages for the passing of Justin, age 18, who died senselessly when he was plied with liquor at a fraternity rush party and we’re also seeking to have the fraternity and sorority reform itself,” said Shanin Specter, Council, Estate of Justin King.
He says they also want Bloomsburg University to look at the regulation of fraternities and sororities so that this would not happen again. Kappa Sigma fraternity was permanently suspended and Alpha Sigma Tau sorority is in the midst of its four year suspension.
At the end of the day, King’s family wants justice. Will they get it? Only time will tell.
Bloomsburg University is not named in the lawsuit but declined our request for comment. They provided us a list of chapters that have since been closed.