San Luis Obispo Fraternity Under Fire

A February lawsuit filed in San Luis Obispo (“SLO”) Superior Court claims that a member of a California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) fraternity chased the plaintiff into a glass panel in the fraternity house. The negligence lawsuit against the fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, seeks damages exceeding $25,000. This is one of many controversies in which the fraternity has been involved in recent years.

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The plaintiff was a visitor at the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house in 2015. When she tried to leave, an unnamed fraternity brother began to chase her to prevent her from exiting the house. She mistook the floor-to-ceiling glass pane for a door and ran through it, causing “severe” but unspecified injuries. Since she was being chased, she alleges, she was forced to make a split-second decision, which contributed to the accident.

The lawsuit alleges that the glass and the door created a dangerous, trap-like situation that made the glass appear to be a door that was open. The fraternity house, she claims, should have been aware of the dangerous condition because they lived in the house and knew the layout.

The fraternity has said the case lacks merit but has refused to make any other comments on the pending litigation. The fraternity has been involved in numerous controversies in the recent past, leading the New Times SLO to draw comparisons to the cult fraternity movie Animal House.

In December 2014, they were under investigation for sexual assault occurring at a party. In 2015, the fraternity was placed on social probation for roughly a year for the alleged sexual assault. They were forbidden from throwing parties but did so anyway on September 17, 2015. The party spurred a fight between two men trying to crash and fraternity brothers. The two men were thrown out and went on to stab two victims nearby. An investigation revealed that Alpha Gamma Rho was hosting a party in violation of social probation, which was then extended through this spring.

What’s more, Alpha Gamma Rho is currently defending another lawsuit related to its 2017 year-end photo. The photo depicts fraternity brothers wearing culturally and ethnically offensive costumes (such as a dreadlocks wig, a sombrero, and a “pimp suit”) and holding bottles of alcohol and firearms while gathered around a “Make America Great Again” banner. Alpha Gamma Rho eventually removed the photo and gave a public apology.

The lawsuits related to both the offensive photo and the glass-door injury were scheduled for hearing in late June.

The premises liability lawyers at Neumann Law Group represent victims throughout the Los Angeles area. Call us at (213) 227-0001 for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about the options that you may have to assert your right to compensation.

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