FAMU asks lawsuit from hazing death be dismissed

Associated Press Modified: November 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
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Champion's parents, Robert and Pamela Champion of Decatur, Ga., rejected a $300,000 settlement offer from the university earlier this month. An attorney for the family, Chris Chestnut, said no further talks are taking place.

Ten FAMU band members face felony hazing charges in the case, while two others face misdemeanor counts. They have pleaded not guilty. Hazing that involves bodily harm is a third-degree felony in Florida.

"This is a commonsense case. It's complex but common sense," Chestnut said after the hearing. "There is a clear history of hazing at FAMU. "

Champion's parents also are suing the bus company that operated the bus on which the hazing took place, as well as its driver. An attorney for the bus driver said her duty to protect the students ended when she dropped them off at the hotel.

An attorney for the bus company told the judge that Champion's participation relieved them of liability.

"It is not an issue of whether he was a participant in hazing," said Dick Ford, an attorney for Fabulous Coach Lines. "He certainly was a participant in hazing."