I reported on this lawsuit previously. USC got out on its summary judgment motion, now Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity gets out also. Shame. Here are the facts:
Appellant Carson Barenborg was injured at a party hosted by a local chapter of respondent Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, a national fraternity. Appellant, Barenborg, sued respondent for negligence. The trial court granted respondent’s, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, motion for summary judgment, concluding respondent owed appellant no duty of care and was not vicariously liable for its local chapter’s actions. Appellant challenges these conclusions on appeal. She contends respondent owed her a duty of care based on: (1) a special relationship between respondent and the local chapter; (2) a special relationship between respondent and appellant; and (3) a voluntary assumption of duty under the negligent undertaking doctrine. She also contends respondent is vicariously liable for the local chapter’s actions based on an agency relationship. The California Court of Appeal held that respondent owed no duty to protect appellant from the actions of the local chapter and is not vicariously liable for them. Affirmed.
I found this most interesting:
According to Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity’s mission statement, its mission is to “promote the highest standards of friendship, scholarship and service for [its] members . . . .” Among other goals, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity seeks “[t]o develop, maintain, and enforce standards and expectations for the conduct of [Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity’s] members within and outside of the Fraternity.”
Sigma Alpha Epsilon is under “Fraternity Laws,” that govern it’s operation and are binding on its local chapters. They provide for an all-volunteer “Supreme Council.” They maintain a guide entitled, “Minerva’s Shield” that contains it’s risk-management policies.
Our Nation’s future bartenders and AA counselors!
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity was placed on suspension; however, it is unclear if double-secret probation was implemented.
Robert Rodriguez has litigated well over 100 family law cases and civil litigation matters including personal injury motor vehicle cases, dog bite and slip & fall cases, breach of contract, defamation & invasion of privacy, fraud, unfair business practice, malicious prosecution, workplace and employment matters including sexual harassment, wrongful termination, wage & hour violations, discrimination pursuant to the FEHA, Gov’t Code §§ 12940 et seq., violations of the FMLA & Pregnancy Leave, Civil Rights discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the State of California and California federal district courts.
* Disclaimer – Robert Rodriguez is licensed to practice only in the State of California & this analysis is applied only under State of California law. Robert Rodriguez is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts, Central, Northern & Eastern Districts of California.