80-six current and former Yale University students have been named in two identical lawsuits over a fatal collision that occurred at the tailgate of the 2011 Harvard-Yale football game.
One woman was killed and two other bystanders — a Yale student and a Harvard employee — were injured after a Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brother lost control of the U-Haul truck he was driving to the fraternity’s tailgate area. Now, the Yale Daily News reports, the injured student and the estate of the deceased woman have filed distinct identical lawsuits “individually naming all the students who were members of the Yale chapter of the fraternity at the time of the crash, regardless of whether or not they were present at the tailgate.”
According to the Daily News, the national fraternity has severed its ties with the local chapter for this case, saying that they have no legal connections to each other. The national organisation’s insurance agency will also not cover action from the Yale chapter.
“[The local chapter] has been thrown under the bus … by the national fraternity, so the only remedy that our client has is to sue the local fraternity,” one of the victims lawyers told the Daily News. He said that in 20 years of practicing, he had never seen a fraternity abandon its members.
This is, to say the least, an unusual situation.
The other lawyer who filed suit against the Yale students told the Daily News, “I have no doubt that each and every one of [the members in 2011], in paying dues to the national organisation, had an expectation that the national organisation was going to get them the insurance coverage they needed and was going to stand with them.”
However, the fraternity may be helping the students behind the scenes, as 84 of the defendants are now represented by the same attorney, which was likely arranged by the national organisation.
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