Appeals Court To Review Ruling In FAMU Hazing Lawsuit

Source: Stephen Hudak / Orlando Sentinel

FAMU wants an appeals court to reverse a judge’s decision allowing a civil case over the deadly hazing of drum major Robert Champion to continue.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals based in Daytona Beach has agreed to review last month’s ruling by Circuit Judge Walter Komanski who refused to throw out a lawsuit filed by the drum major’s parents against Florida A&M University.

FAMU lawyers contend the school should be immune from the parents’ lawsuit because Champion voluntarily participated in the hazing, an illegal assembly under state law. Pamela and Robert Champion say the school allowed a deep-seated culture of hazing to fester within the band and that led to their son’s death.

Komanski ruled against FAMU when he decided Champion was a “hazee” not a “hazer.” He reasoned in his order, “It is clear to this Court then that a victim of hazing cannot commit hazing.”

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