Jury awards $6.1 million to parents of LSU student who died in a hazing incident

8 months ago 4
Picture of Max Gruver from his Facebook.

CNN  — 

The parents of Maxwell “Max” Gruver — the Louisiana State University student who died in a 2017 hazing incident — prevailed in their wrongful death lawsuit and were awarded $6.1 million by a jury in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week, the family’s attorney, Jonathan Fazzola, told CNN.

Max died on September 14, 2017, after an alcohol-related hazing ritual while pledging Phi Delta Theta, CNN has previously reported. He was 18.

His death led Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to sign into law a set of anti-hazing measures in 2018 that made hazing a felony.

The civil lawsuit filed in a Louisiana court named several parties including the university, the national and local Phi Delta Theta organizations and others, Fazzola said.

The jury awarded Steve Gruver and his wife, Rae Ann, $6.1 million Wednesday for the loss they suffered and for their son’s suffering in his final moments, Fazzola told CNN.

The total monetary funds the family will receive are unclear since there were settlements that were reached previously with several parties named in the lawsuit, the attorney added.

The jury’s award will allow the family to continue to honor Max by educating young people on the dangers of hazing through the Max Gruver Foundation, which was founded by the family “to make sure hazing-related deaths do not continue,” the family’s lawyer told CNN.

In December, the Gruver family and LSU came to an agreement on an $875,000 settlement, which factors out of the $6.1 million award, according to Fazzola.

CNN has reached out to LSU, the East Baton Rouge District Attorney and representatives for the fraternity for comment but did not immediately hear back.

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