Carrington, Estate of Matthew vs. Chi Tau, et al.

Location: Chico, CA

We were lead counsel for the estate and family of Matthew Carrington, who died as a result of a fraternity hazing tradition that required pledges to consume gallons of water as a condition of joining the fraternity.  The fraternity chapter at the University of California, Chico had been expelled by the national fraternity for misconduct preceding Matt’s death.  Nevertheless, it continued to operate on its own and initiate members.  A lawsuit was filed against the national fraternity, former local chapter, and numerous fraternity members.  Motions filed by defendants to evade liability for Matt’s death were filed, opposed by our firm, and denied.  The case settled for a confidential substantial sum prior to trial.  Thereafter, we advised the family about necessary legislative changes, and Matt’s Mom, Debbie Smith, convinced the California Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger to enact “Matt’s Law,” which offers greater protection to and remedies for students and families harmed by fraternity hazing.  “Campus Nightmares,” a Lifetime Movie Network series, documents Matt’s life, the circumstances of his death, and has been viewed by thousands of people as part of the unending, successful efforts by Debbie Smith to educate the public about dangerous fraternity hazing and save lives.

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