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Court Denies Motion To Nix Krueger Case

By Mike Hall

OPINION EDITOR

The Suffolk Superior Court denied a motion by the national organization of Phi Gamma Delta to dismiss a wrongful death suit filed by the family of Scott S. Krueger ’01. Krueger died in 1997 after overindulging in alcohol during a pledge event at MIT’s Fiji chapter.

Justice Linda E. Giles wrote in her May 18 decision that Fiji National failed to prove that it was free from liability for Krueger’s condition while he served as a pledge at its MIT chapter. Fiji National had claimed that it only had “social host” responsibility under Massachusetts law, which would have released it from liability for Krueger’s voluntary decision to consume alcohol. The Kruegers successfully countered Fiji National’s claim by convincing Giles that Fiji National’s need to recruit pledges and Krueger’s need for housing could have combined to create a coercive environment for Krueger, which would have obligated Fiji National to look out for his well-being.

While the Kruegers did not specifically allege coercion, Giles wrote, “inferences from the alleged facts could support such a conclusion.”

Giles also denied motions to dismiss by other defendants, including the house corporation, the now-disbanded MIT chapter, former house president Jonathan P. Loflin ’98, former pledge trainer Charles H. Yoo ’98, and Kevin E. McDonald ’00, Krueger’s “big brother.”

Last September, the Kruegers agreed to a $6 million settlement with MIT for the Institute’s role in their son’s death.