Lawsuit: WVU student overserved at club, raped by fraternity member

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:12 PM EST
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - A lawsuit was filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court on Thursday against a West Virginia University fraternity, one of its members, and a nightclub alleging negligence and sexual assault.

The lawsuit alleges Pi Lambda Phi held a “closed” social event at Blaze, a now-defunct nightclub in Morgantown on Dec. 3, 2021.

The plaintiff, a 20-year-old WVU student, was invited to the event by a fraternity member and was served numerous alcoholic beverages, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit says the victim was “extremely impaired and unable to maintain her balance,” including falling over a table and knocking over a tower of wooden blocks due to her level of intoxication. It alleges the nightclub and fraternity failed to ensure she received appropriate care under the circumstances.

The lawsuit says the victim and the fraternity member who invited her to the event planned to attend an after-party, but they lost contact with each other.

The lawsuit says one member of the fraternity took the victim to his home and raped her while she was in an “obviously inebriated state.”

The lawsuit claims the event was supposed to be registered with WVU’s Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership (CFVL), requiring the event to provide one alcohol/substance-free monitor for every 15 people who attended the event. However, the fraternity allegedly failed to comply with this safety requirement, in addition to numerous other requirements by the CFVL.

According to the lawsuit, Blaze’s advertised drink special that night was $1 each for liquor shots, beers and mixed drinks, which the lawsuit claims is a business model to sell a high volume of alcohol instead of regularly-priced drinks in moderation.

The nightclub also did not have enough employees to monitor patrons’ alcohol consumption, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit lists one count of negligence against Blaze and two of its managing members, one count of negligence against Pi Lambda Phi and one of its members, and one count of sexual assault and battery against one of the fraternity’s members.

The victim is looking to receive “compensatory damages, punitive damages, pre and post-judgement interest, attorney fees, costs, and such other and further relief” from the Court, according to the lawsuit, in addition to a jury trial.