Parents of fraternity pledge file civil suit over his death

The parents of a Florida State University fraternity pledge who died of alcohol poisoning after a party have filed a civil suit against those who have a connection in their son’s death.

Thomas and Sandra Coffey are suing Pi Kappa Phi’s national chapter and several others, including the nine brotherhood members who were charged with criminal hazing after Andrew Coffey’s death Nov. 3. The suit was are presented in Leon County’s circuit court, which is where Florida State University is located.

Miami lawyer David Bianchi, who is representing the family, said the suit does not specify an amount that they are seeking in injuries. He also said that the university is not among the parties being sued even though the chapter adviser is employed by Florida State and is included.

“The university did not do anything wrong. They are just as upset as everybody else, ” Bianchi said. “We sued those who had a role in Andrew’s death.”

The state medical examiner said Coffey had a blood alcohol level of. 447 at the time of the autopsy. The 20 -year old junior drank a lethal amount of bourbon and malt liquor at the fraternity’s “Big Brother Night” party, which was held at an off-campus home. The suit does include the two people who rented the home to the fraternity.

It also includes the nine brotherhood members who are facing misdemeanour hazing charges — Luke E. Kluttz and Clayton M. Muehlstein, both 22; Brett A. Birmingham and Anthony Petagine, both 20; and Conner R. Ravelo, Christopher M. Hamlin, Anthony Oppenheimer, John B. “Jack” Ray and Kyle J. Bauer, all 21.

Ravelo was Coffey’s “big brother” in the brotherhood. The other eight are members of the fraternity’s executive council, which coordinated the party.

All nine have entered not guilty pleas and are awaiting trial.

FSU President John Thrasher suspended frats and sororities three days after Coffey’s death. He partly lifted the suspension on Jan. 29, permitting Greek organizations to hold philanthropic events and recruit members. The ban on alcohol and social functions remains in place indefinitely.

Pi Kappa Phi’s national office shut the Florida State chapter following Coffey’s death. National spokesman Todd Shelton said via text message that his office had no comment on the pending litigation.

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