TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The parents of a Florida State University pledge who died after an off-campus party at a fraternity house have filed a lawsuit against the national chapter and nine of its members.
Attorney David Bianchi, representing Thomas and Sandra Coffey, filed the lawsuit on their behalf Tuesday in Leon County. They are claiming negligence in the death of their son, Andrew Coffey.
The 15-count civil suit names the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, the landlords who rented the home and the nine fraternity members who were charged with criminal hazing after Coffey's Nov. 3 death.
Coffey, a 20-year-old junior from Pompano Beach, was found dead at an off-campus home where a Pi Kappa Phi party had taken place the night before. An autopsy revealed that Coffey died from alcohol poisoning.
According to the lawsuit, Pi Kappa Phi and its members "had been hazing and having pledges abuse alcohol for years." The lawsuit said this should have been known by each of the defendants.
The lawsuit condemns the unchecked culture of the frat and actions of its members, including events like "Big Brother" night that Coffey attended on the eve of his death.
According to the lawsuit, two fraternity members -- Anthony Oppenheimer, 21, and Luke Kluttz, 22 -- told the pledges that they weren't going to drink that night to make sure that nobody else drank too much.
"Both Oppenheimer and Kluttz failed miserably at the job they had agreed to undertake," the lawsuit said.
FSU suspended its fraternities and sororities for nearly three months, though alcohol is not being allowed at campus functions.
Pi Kappa Phi national spokesman Todd Shelton said via text message that his office had no comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit seeks in excess of $15,000 in damages.
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