A wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a fraternity pledge has been dismissed.
The family of Northern Illinois University freshman David Bogenberger filed the suit against the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha and several of its members. Bogenberger died in November 2012 at the age of 19, after drinking alcohol in excess at a fraternity party.
The lawsuit alleged that fraternity members made heavy drinking a condition of membership. The lawsuit also claimed that when Bogenberger lost consciousness, fraternity members put him in a bed instead of getting help. Bogenberger was found dead the next day. According to authorities, Bogenberger had a blood alcohol content of 0.351.
In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Kathy Flanagan said that the plaintiffs had not shown that intoxication was a requirement for membership in the fraternity, which might have violated Illinois’ anti-hazing law. Flanagan said that according to Illinois law, social hosts cannot be held liable for their guests’ alcohol consumption.
The incident is also the basis of 22 criminal hazing cases, which are still ongoing after the state’s anti-hazing law survived a constitutional challenge. Authorities have charged the men who planned the party with felonies and have charged 17 other men with misdemeanor hazing. Authorities have said that fraternity members and other guests ordered the pledges to drink vodka in excess.