Thursday, January 25, 2007

Phi Delta Theta Wins Lawsuit on Hazing

UI fraternity awarded more than $127K in lawsuit
By Mike McWilliams
Iowa City Press-CitizenJanuary 24, 2007

Johnson County District Court Judge Mitchell Turner awarded more than $127,000 in damages to a fraternity that sued the state, the University of Iowa and a UI official.

Phi Delta Theta alleged a tape recording used in a 2002 hazing and alcohol violation investigation was illegally obtained and should not have been used. A bench trial on the lawsuit took place last September.

Turner awarded Phi Delta Theta $98,300 in compensatory damages and more than $24,444 for legal fees against UI and vice president for student services Phillip E. Jones. Each total also will have about 7 percent interest added dating from Feb. 4, 2005. Turner also awarded the fraternity $5,000 against Jones for punitive damages.

Jones said he was unaware of the judgment late Wednesday afternoon and deferred comment to assistant Iowa Attorney General George Carroll. Carroll did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Phi Delta Theta claimed UI officials used a recording of an alleged hazing incident secretly recorded by a pledge to revoke the fraternity’s recognition. UI eventually dropped the hazing claim and the fraternity regained its status in 2004. However, fraternity officials have said because it was off campus for more than two years and was not allowed to participate in rush week and approach new members, it suffered financially. The chapter eventually dissolved in 2005 because of low membership, fraternity officials have said.