Family Sues Fraternity For $28 Million Over Pledge's Hazing Death

Drunk Man and Beer Bottles

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The family of a 19-year-old Virginia Commonwealth University student who died in 2021 after being hazed has filed a $28 million lawsuit against the fraternity he was pledging. Adam Oakes was found dead the morning after he was forced to drink a bottle of whiskey during a pledge night by brothers of the Delta Chi fraternity.

As a result of Oakes' death, criminal charges were filed against multiple members of the fraternity. Six members were convicted of or pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor hazing or providing alcohol to a minor. None of the members received jail time. Charges against five other members were dropped.

The school kicked the fraternity off campus and previously reached a $1 million settlement with Oakes' family.

Now, Courtney White, Oakes' cousin, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Delta Chi Fraternity Inc., Delta Chi Educational Foundation, and the local chapter of Delta Chi.

"Too many families like ours have lost their sons and daughters to these senseless and dangerous hazing rituals," the Oakes family said in a statement. "Our hope is that one day we and all the other families who have been impacted by hazing can look forward to a day when such senseless deaths no longer occur."

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