Lawsuit targets fraternity in NIU student’s death
DEKALB – The family of a Northern Illinois University freshman who died last year after a night of heavy drinking has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the fraternity he was pledging, alleging that members failed to seek medical attention after the student lost consciousness.
David Bogenberger, 19, was found dead at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house on Nov. 2. The night before, he and other pledges had attended an event that the national fraternity organization says was not sanctioned. Toxicology results found Bogenberger’s blood alcohol content was about five times the legal limit for driving.
The family’s lawsuit names the fraternity and several members. It argues that Pi Kappa Alpha national leadership bears some responsibility.
“The national organization has a responsibility to provide meaningful training, supervision and oversight to its local chapters so that fraternity members understand that alcohol-related hazing is dangerous and potentially deadly,” said the family’s attorney, Peter Coladarci.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Cook County, is seeking more than $100,000 in damages from the national fraternity. The fraternity’s national office in Memphis, Tenn., did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
According to authorities, Bogenberger and other pledges drank vodka and other liquor for about two hours during the Nov. 1 fraternity event.
Several of the pledges told authorities they got sick or passed out because of the heavy drinking, police said.
According to the lawsuit, fraternity members put Bogenberger on a couch or bed in the house after he became unconscious instead of seeking medical attention.
Five fraternity members have been charged with felony hazing. Seventeen others face misdemeanor hazing charges.