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Holding Greek Life Fraternity Houses Liable for Underage Drinking and Injuries

Posted by Dev Sethi | Oct 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

Greek life is a big part of the college experience at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.  It offers camaraderie and a sense of community to many students. It also the hub of significant social activity and parties. Unfortunately, the fraternity party scene can sometimes lead to serious injuries, especially when underage drinking is involved. In such cases, it's important to understand the potential legal avenues available for suing fraternities - including their local affiliate, national organization, and housing corporation, which typically owns the chapter's local real estate. Here, we'll explore the possibility of holding Greek Life fraternity houses accountable for underage drinking and the resulting injuries.

  • Social Host Liability in Arizona:
    Arizona, like many states, has social host liability laws that can hold fraternity houses accountable for underage drinking-related injuries. If a fraternity knowingly serves alcohol to minors or allows underage drinking on their premises, they can be held legally responsible for any harm that occurs as a result. This legal framework emphasizes the importance of responsible alcohol management within the Greek life community.
  • Negligence Claims in Arizona:
    Injuries stemming from underage drinking at fraternity parties can range from alcohol poisoning to physical altercations and even car accidents that occur when intoxicated attendees drive away. To sue a fraternity house successfully in Arizona, plaintiffs may need to demonstrate negligence on the part of the fraternity. This could include inadequate security measures, a lack of responsible oversight, or a history of disregarding incidents related to underage drinking, noise complaints, disorderly conduct, or physical abuse. Acting quickly to preserve evidence and search for past issues is key. Proving negligence is crucial in establishing liability and seeking compensation.
  • Holding Fraternities Accountable for Physical Altercations and Sexual Assault:
    It's not uncommon for altercations or even more serious incidents like sexual assault to occur at fraternity parties. In Arizona, fraternity houses can be held responsible for failing to provide a safe environment or adequately addressing such incidents. Victims of physical altercations or sexual assault at fraternity events may have legal options to seek compensation for their injuries and emotional distress. These options include obtaining restraining orders seeking protection from an assailant; pressing criminal charges; availing of the University's internal disciplinary process; and filing a civil lawsuit. 

We have extensive experience representing victims of Greek Life negligence. If you have questions or want more information, please contact us. Taking legal action not only helps victims pursue justice but also encourages safer practices within the Greek life community, promoting a safer college experience for all.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.


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