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Emmette L. Barran, III v. Kappa Alpha Order, Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Jones sued Kappa Alpha Order, Inc. for negligence after submitting to hazing for an entire school year.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A plaintiff cannot recover for harm when they assume the risk of harm caused by the defendant’s negligence.

    Facts.

    Jones was hazed when he was a pledge of Kappa Alpha Order, Inc. (KA) at Auburn University. Although 20 to 40 percent of Jones’ pledge class withdrew, Jones submitted to the hazing throughout the school year. Jones filed suit against KA. The trial court granted summary judgment to KA and the appellate court reversed.

    Issue.

    Whether a plaintiff can recover for harm when they assume the risk of harm caused by the defendant’s negligence??

    Held.

    No. The judgment of the appellate court is reversed. Peer pressure did not influence Jones’ decision to remain in the pledge class because 20 to 40 percent of Jones’ pledge class withdrew. Jones assumed the risk by not withdrawing from the pledge class.

    Discussion.

    A plaintiff cannot recover for harm when they assume the risk of harm caused by the defendant’s negligence. The defendant is required to prove that the plaintiff was aware of the risk and voluntarily submitted to the risk.


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