Family of Hazing Victim Offers to Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Florida A&M

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 18, 2015 – The family of Robert Champion, the Florida A&M drum major who died after a hazing ritual, has offered to settle their wrongful death lawsuit against the university for $8 million.

The position of the university has been that Champion participated in the hazing activities voluntarily. The university must accept or reject the settlement offer within 30 days. The Florida legislature must approve any settlement greater than $300,000. In 2012, Champion’s family rejected an offer by the university to settle the case for $300,000.

“It is always tragic when a loved one is lost before their time, and even more so when the death was preventable,” said Robert Joyce, a Tampa wrongful death attorney with Joyce & Reyes, who is not involved in the case. “When someone dies as the result of another’s negligence, the family has the right to seek compensation for their loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.”

Proposed legislation in the form of a “claims” bill was introduced in the Florida Senate on July 30 to compensate Champion’s family. The bill alleges that Champion was forced to participate in the hazing ritual and that Florida A&M permitted an “entrenched culture of hazing” to thrive in the university’s famed marching band, the Marching 100. The amount of the settlement was left blank in the bill.

Robert Champion died Nov. 19, 2011, after being beaten during a ritual following the Florida Classic football game, which took place at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. A medical examiner ruled that the beating caused Champion’s death. Felony charges were filed against 15 former band members, and six others accepted plea deals with sentences of community service.

Learn more at Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A. 307 S Hyde Park Ave Tampa, FL 33606 Call: 813.251.2007
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