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Confidential Settlement Reached in Fraternity Hazing Death Case


Just a few months after filing a lawsuit on behalf of the parents of Andrew Coffey, a fraternity pledge at Florida State University who died of alcohol poisoning in November 2017, David Bianchi, one of the nation’s top hazing attorneys, has reached a confidential settlement in the case. The settlement in the Coffey v. Pi Kappa Phi case comes just six months after the tragic death of Andrew.

"Andrew Coffey's parents sent him to college never dreaming that he would never come home. He died because the fraternity brothers at Pi Kappa Phi subjected him to its annual tradition of extreme alcohol abuse that they have perpetuated for decades. The settlement that we have achieved for his family sends a strong message to the fraternity and its members that there will be significant financial consequences if you continue to haze pledges."
- Hazing Attorney David Bianchi

The Tragic Story of Andrew Coffey

On November 2, 2017, Andrew attended a traditional event of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity to which he was pledged. During the evening, known as “Big Brother night,” he consumed an entire bottle of 101 proof bourbon—an act that was part of the long-standing tradition. The next morning, he was found unresponsive.

During the autopsy, his blood alcohol level was determined to be six times the legal limit.

We filed a lawsuit that blamed the national office of Pi Kappa Phi for the tragic death of one of their own, as well as nine fraternity members (who were criminally charged for the hazing), the Pi Kappa Phi chapter adviser, as well as the two individuals who rented the house where Andrew ultimately passed away.

Continuing Our Fight for Justice in Hazing Injury & Death Cases

At Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A. our fraternity hazing attorneys have stood by the side of individuals who have been severely injured and families who have lost loved ones in the name of these dangerous traditions. While hazing has long been accepted as the status quo, the truth is that it is endangering our students and putting their well-being, safety, and lives at risk.

We refuse to stand by and let it continue to happen.

In 2001, our firm represented the parents of Chad Meredith, an 18-year-old student of the University of Miami who was killed after a night of excessive drinking. Chad’s family counted on our expertise in hazing cases and relied on Mr. Bianchi’s knowledge, passion, and authority on hazing cases and legal matters. After we fought hard for the family, we not only won a $14 million verdict, the largest fraternity hazing verdict in history, but we also went on to help write legislation that made hazing resulting in death or serious injury a third-degree felony. That legislation, known as the Chad Meredith Act, was signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush at the University of Miami where Chad died.

In the years following that case, we have continued to demand justice for the victims of hazing nationwide, and we remain committed to doing the same in the years to come. This latest settlement achieved for the family of Andrew Coffey isn’t the end. Our team will continue to let fraternities, universities, and individuals across the nation know that if they continue to haze their students, we will be there to hold them responsible.

If you have been affected by an act of hazing, or a family member has been harmed in any way, we encourage you to contact the personal injury attorneys at our firm immediately. Let your voice be heard.

Call us at (305) 770-6335 to schedule a free case review.