Parents awarded $1.5 million in hazing lawsuit against fraternity

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The parents of a fraternity pledge who died after 12 days of hazing have been awarded 1.5 million dollars in a wrongful death suit against one of the perpetrators.

John Burnius must pay the family of Walter Dean Jennings $400,000 in compensatory damages, $100,000 for wrongful death and $1 million in punitive damages.

Jennings was a freshman at Plattsburgh State when he died in March 2003, after days of aggressive hazing.

The Saratoga County resident died of water intoxication.

At the time of his death, the Psi Epsilon Chi fraternity had been banned from the Plattsburgh campus because of alcohol-related incidents dating back to 1998.

Jennings’ parents filed suit in 2004 against Burnius and 13 other members of the fraternity. All but Burnius settled out of court.

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