Florida A&M University has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of hazing victim Robert Champion for $1.1 million and an apology from the school.
Champion died in November 2011 when he was reportedly hazed as part of a marching band ritual on a bus in Orlando. The 26-year-old died after his fellow band members beat him with fists and boards during the band’s trip back to a hotel after a football game.
The settlement states that an insurance company will pay $800,000 to Champion’s estate. Florida A&M University will also pay $300,000, the maximum amount permitted by state law without approval of the Florida legislature.
Following Champion’s death, 15 members of FAMU’s band were charged with crimes. The majority of these individuals received sentences of probation and community service. Of all those involved, Dante Martin, the alleged organizer of the hazing ritual, received the harshest sentence of more than six years in prison for manslaughter and felony hazing.
Preventing future hazing incidents
In its official apology, FAMU offered its condolences to Champion’s family for its loss and expressed that the university was “deeply sorry” for the passing of the student and the “world’s loss of such a fine and outstanding son, brother, musician and individual.” The university also noted that it appreciated the opportunity to honor Champion’s memory to inspire others to end hazing rituals permanently.
In addition to the apology, FAMU will create and display a commemorative plate honoring Champion. The plaque will be added to the university’s band room, practice area or other campus location selected by the decedent’s family.
If you believe your loved one died due to the actions or negligence of another party, contact a compassionate Bradenton wrongful death lawyer with Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.