Lawsuit Filed by Mother of ASU Frat Pledge Who Drowned

May 8, 2014

The mother of an Arizona State University fraternity pledge who drowned after a night of drinking has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the chapter.

Grace Culolias wants a jury trial to decide punitive and compensatory damages.

Her civil suit, filed late last month in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleges the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was grossly negligent in its November 2012 pledge drive.

Jack Culolias, a 19-year-old freshman, was kicked out of a Tempe bar at a frat event for being drunk and unruly, and urinating in the patio area.

His body was found weeks later in Tempe Town Lake. An autopsy showed he died by accidental drowning and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 percent.

LawsuitAccording to the lawsuit, Sigma Alpha Epsilon scheduled a social on Nov. 30, 2012, at the now-defunct Cadillac Ranch bar near ASU’s Tempe campus and provided bus transportation for its members and pledges from a party at an off-campus apartment complex to the bar.

The lawsuit also alleges that several pledges and members switched drink wristbands to ensure underage pledges and members would be able to drink alcohol.

At least two fraternity members knew Culolias was thrown out of the bar and did nothing to ensure a safe way home, according to the lawsuit.

Also listed as defendants in the suit are the fraternity’s chapter president, five other fraternity members and their alumni adviser.

A call to Sigma Alpha Epsilon officials seeking comment Tuesday wasn’t immediately returned.

The fraternity had its chapter status revoked by ASU last year following a string of student conduction violations.

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Latest Comments

  • May 9, 2014 at 11:32 am
    blu lightning says:
    Can't imagine college or frat life without drinking. That said, .28 is an amazingly high BAC and I honestly struggle in understanding how any college student has the stupidity... read more
  • May 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm
    Celtica says:
    I would tend to agree with you in general except this was a Frat sponsored event at a bar which was beyond stupid to even host. With a nationwide drinking age of 21, the majo... read more
  • May 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm
    Boom_Lawyered says:
    I hate seeing these articles but in these situations, the family usually has an underlying need to blame someone other than the son who got too drunk by his own volition.
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