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A jury in Baton Rouge awarded $6.1 million to the parents of a Louisiana State University student who died following a 2017 hazing incident, The Advocate reported.
Max Gruver was an 18-year-old freshman when he died of alcohol poisoning and aspiration after a Phi Delta Theta fraternity ritual in which pledges were required to chug 190-proof liquor.
His parents, Stephen and Rae Ann Gruver, had already received payments from settlements with 16 of the 17 defendants named in their civil suit, which included LSU, Phi Delta Theta and multiple members of the fraternity. The jury found the remaining defendant, former fraternity member Ryan Matthew Isto, 2 percent responsible for the death, meaning the Gruvers will receive $122,000 after the trial.
Both Isto and another former fraternity member, Sean Paul Gott, had previously pled no contest to a misdemeanor hazing charge and were sentenced to 30 days in jail in 2018. Another, Matthew Naquin, who was said to have acted as a “ringleader” during the hazing, was convicted of negligent homicide in 2019.
Gruver’s parents plan to use the money to further the mission of the Max Gruver Foundation, the antihazing organization they founded after their son’s death. Since then, the Louisiana Legislature has passed a bill aimed at defining and preventing hazing called the Max Gruver Act, which the foundation supported.