Monday, September 27, 2021

Judge Brann of Federal Middle District Refuses to Create New Duty in Fraternity Hazing Cases

In the case of Jean v. Bucknell University, No. 4:20-CV-01722 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 9, 2021 Brann, J.), the court granted a Motion to Dismiss in a college fraternity hazing personal injury case.

Judge Brann ruled that allegations of off-campus fraternity hazing, unknown to and unsupported by the Defendant university did not justify the creation of a new tort duty to discover and halt such conduct.

As part of his ruling, the court noted that the creation of a duty to ferret out and prevent hazing would effectively require a prohibition of all student group gatherings without direct university supervision.

The court otherwise noted that institutions of higher learning do not owe any in loco parentis duty to its students.

In the end, the court found that hazing incidents involving separate, unaffiliated organizations are too attenuated to constitute facilitation or recklessness allegations.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The companion Order can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

Source of image:  Photo by Victor Svistunov on

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