Attorney David Bianchi has been representing the victims of hazing and their families for 20 years and he has seen hazing destroy the lives of too many young people. Following the death of Chad Meredith, he co-wrote Florida’s existing hazing statute. Now, he intends to revise it yet again. Mr. Bianchi is now in the process of drafting two amendments to the statute that will go even further and better protect Florida’s fraternity and sorority members.
In the last year alone, two families of hazing victims from Florida State University have turned to Mr. Bianchi to represent them. In 2017, Andrew Coffey died from alcohol poisoning after a hazing “tradition” at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.. Andrew’s parents hired Mr. Bianchi to represent them in a lawsuit that they filed. Nicholas Mauricio, another FSU student, also turned to Mr. Bianchi for assistance after a cruel hazing ritual left him with severe brain damage.
What the Proposals Will Seek to Change
The first amendment to the law that Mr. Bianchi is working on will seek to place responsibility on every fraternity and sorority member in the state to call 911 when someone needs medical attention. Had a medical amnesty law such as this existed before, Mr. Coffey’s life could have been saved last November. Though FSU has a policy requiring medical amnesty, it is not a state law that has authority beyond the university’s system.
Florida State President John Thrasher has agreed to work closely with Mr. Bianchi to improve Florida’s anti-hazing law.
Mr. Bianchi was quoted in the Tallahassee Democrat as saying, “Andrew Coffey would be alive today if someone had the courage to call 911 when he was laying on the couch severely intoxicated and having a hard time breathing. But no one called because they were probably afraid of what might happen to them.”
The second proposal seeks to extend hazing protection to those who are already members of a fraternity or sorority. Currently, the law only applies protections to pledges who are harmed during hazing. The need for the is exemplified with the case of Nicholas Mauricio. While a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, Mr. Mauricio was seriously injured during the fraternity’s “Scumbag of the Week” tradition. Unfortunately, authorities were unable to prosecute members of Alpha Epsilon Pi for what they did as Mr. Mauricio was already a member of the fraternity and not a pledge.
Hazing Awareness Is Essential
Hazing rituals are dangerous events of indoctrination that senselessly injure and kill innocent students who are simply trying to gain social acceptance. Mr. Bianchi hopes to eradicate this problem through both proposals that he and FSU will present during the next session of the Florida Legislature in March. In the meantime, they are working to educate leaders of Greek organizations on the dangers of hazing.
In a recent keynote speech to FSU leaders during Hazing Prevention Week, Mr. Bianchi said,
“This whole topic of hazing amazes me, as it never seems to go away. You have to try and educate people like you—in this room—to stop it when they see it about to happen.”
If you would like to learn more, or if you would like to discuss your hazing case with a member of our legal team, we encourage you to call (305) 770-6335 today to receive a free, confidential consultation.