Serving Gainesville, Jacksonville, Atlanta areas
The Chestnut Firm is currently representing the family of Robert D. Champion - a former member of the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Marching 100 Band who was killed in a hazing ritual on November 19th, 2011. The hazing, which took place on a coach bus, required Champion to "break through" a physical onslaught of beatings from his fellow band members. He did not survive the attacks.
The Dangers of Hazing Culture
The Champion family's wrongful death case was filed on October 22nd, 2012 against FAMU, the bus company, and the hotel where the band members were staying. "This family is not filing this lawsuit for jackpot justice," says Attorney Christopher Chestnut. "We're filing this lawsuit for a legacy. Robert Champion can't be a drum major this season. That was taken from him, but he can be a drum major for justice now."
Many parties nationwide are following this case, since it has brought attention to the brutal and potentially fatal nature of hazing culture, which has been a touchstone for many school organizations for generations - including fraternities, sororities, sports teams, and more. But in recent years, it has also become a financial liability for schools. Since the suspension of the Marching 100 band, FAMU has lost thousands of dollars in ticket sales for school events.
Protecting Young Lives and Futures
The national attention given to the Champion Case is exactly what the family has been hoping to achieve. In order to prevent hazing deaths from continuing to happen in the future, change needs to occur now, and that change can only happen if hazing culture is exposed for what it is: a danger to young lives like Robert's.
"FAMU wants to make this about Robert Champion," says Attorney Chestnut. "The Champions have lost their son. This is about the decades of hazing that led up to Robert's death and the decades beyond this point where there's an opportunity for FAMU to rid itself of hazing and still have a very successful band program."
Pamela Champion, Robert's mother, points out the harsh truth about hazing that few people are willing to admit: "It's murder. It actually is murder. To justify [their actions], they put the word hazing on top of it. But if you take that word 'hazing' away, what is it? That's what needs to be looked at."
If your child has been seriously injured or killed because of hazing, please contact The Chestnut Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced hazing claim lawyers. We represent hazing victims nationwide, with offices in Jacksonville and Gainesville, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Charlotte, North Carolina.