A former South Carolina college student who was allegedly beaten with hazing paddles to the point of suffering acute renal failure has won a $1.6 million settlement.
Daniel McElveen, who dropped out of Francis Marion University after hospitalized from the 2011 “Hell Night” fraternity ritual, was awarded the massive sum this week, his attorney announced Friday.
According to his complaint, McElveen was pledging Phi Beta Sigma on Oct. 23, 2011 when the atrocious acts of brutality began with the beating by a paddle that was passed around at the home of university alumnus, Maurice Robinson.
“Even after blood soaked through Plaintiff’s clothes as a result of the striking, brothers of Phi Beta Sigma continued to beat Plaintiff with a paddle and Plaintiff was warned not to let any blood get on the floor,” the disturbing complaint reads.
The physical abuse hospitalized McElveen for eight days. He suffered damage to his kidneys and internal organs in addition to emotional distress which led to his withdrawal at the school, according to his attorneys.
The civil suit sought payments of $600,000 in actual damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages against Robinson, who was a high school teacher at the time of the incident who denied wrongdoing.
Robinson’s defense was that it was McElveen’s choice to participate in the violent act.
Unfortunately for Robinson, that defense failed in court Thursday evening.
“The jury rejected the idea that victims are to blame in hazing cases,” lead trial attorney Mullins McLeod said in a release. “I hope their verdict makes college students think twice before they brutally, physically haze innocent students. Hazing and bullying has no place in our schools or universities.”
McElveen’s lawsuit originally included Francis Marion University and the fraternity of Phi Beta Sigma, but they settled out of court confidentially with McElveen in December.
Nine men were also arrested by the Florence County Sheriff’s Department in the case.
“Hazing is an injustice to all of us and I hope my case raises awareness about hazing and prevents others from being victimized,” McElveen said after Thursday’s verdict was reached.
Source: NY Daily News