Family of Max Gruver sues LSU in $25 million lawsuit over hazing death

Local News

The family of an LSU fraternity member who died during a hazing incident is suing the university for $25 million, according to a 65-page lawsuit filed Thursday. 

Maxwell Gruver’s family alleges that the school should be deemed responsible for his death in the Federal suit.

According to The Advocate, attorneys argue in the lawsuit that LSU misleads its students about the value of Greek Life by promoting it as a “valuable educational opportunity” while simultaneously not publicizing or reporting on incidents of hazing and misconduct.

Max Gruver Act

Gruver, from Roswell, Ga., died in September 2017, after LSU’s Phi Delta Theta chapter subjected pledges to drinking rituals.

The 18-year-old freshman’s blood-alcohol level was .495 upon a coroner’s examination.

His death propelled a national dialogue on hazing, as well as multiple pieces of legislation, which include the Max Gruver Act

Phi Delta Theta responded to this lawsuit by releasing the following statement: 

Almost a year after the heartbreaking loss of Max Gruver, Phi Delta Theta continues to keep the entire Gruver family and the LSU Community in our thoughts and prayers. This is a very tragic situation that should have never happened.

Phi Delta Theta is a values-based organization that is committed to promoting a culture of responsibility in our chapters, and we remain vigilant in protecting the safety of our members and guests. This is why we removed the charter from the Louisiana Beta Chapter at Louisiana State University (LSU) and expelled all involved four days after the incident. We strongly advocate that those found to be involved and in violation of our risk management policies will be held accountable for their individual actions and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We believe in the merits of a college fraternity but recognize the need for meaningful reform. In 2000, Phi Delta Theta was the first and largest fraternity to adopt and implement alcohol and substance-free housing. Throughout our history, we have endorsed and promoted initiatives to battle the societal issue of hazing.

Immediately after the situation, Phi Delta Theta initiated a thorough review of all the Fraternity’s health and safety initiatives. While these efforts continue, they have already resulted in the creation of required individual and chapter bystander education, a Good Samaritan policy, mandatory new member program development, and enhanced parent engagement and communication. A comprehensive listing of our health and safety programs can be found on the Phi Delta Theta website.

Most importantly, we continue to challenge our undergraduates and alumni to uphold the principles and values of Phi Delta Theta.”

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