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University of Central Florida Freshman May Have Been Drinking At Fraternity Party Prior to Her Death

Police are investigating whether alcohol served at a Sigma Chi fraternity party may have played a role in the death of Ann Hefferin. The 18-year-old was just into her third day as a college freshman at the University of Central Florida when she was found unconscious in her room on Thursday. Hefferin, who had just joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority had attended the party at the fraternity before her death. According to a UCF dispatcher who responded to the 911 emergency call, Hefferin’s roommate said the girl had been drinking. Hefferin was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead after 4:30am. Tests conducted by medical examiners were inconclusive. Meantime, police have not confirmed whether drugs or alcohol were factors. UCF has ordered both Delta Delta Delta and Sigma Chi to stop all social activities while the investigation into Hefferin’s death is underway. Although alcohol is commonly found at fraternity and other college parties, it is a violation of university policy to serve alcohol at such events. Although it is too early to tell how or why Hefferin died, depending on the specifics of the case, her parents may find that they have reason to file a Florida wrongful death case against the fraternity chapter, the school, or others if negligence on any or all of their parts contributed to Hefferin’s passing. Malice and the intent to cause harm don’t have to be factors for someone to be sued for someone’s death. For example, in Florida, serving alcohol to a minor can be cause for a civil lawsuit if personal injury or death or damage occurs because of intoxication. Parties responsible for supervising minors during a party or event can also be held liable if negligent supervision allowed for the injury or death to occur. Recently, the mother of a 19-year-old Cornell University student sued the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon for $25 million. George Desdunes died on February 25 from alcohol poisoning after fraternity members allegedly kidnapped, blindfolded, and bound him and then forced him to drink so much alcohol that he lost consciousness and died. The pranks were reportedly part of AE’s hazing activities. Desdunes’s BAC was reportedly .409—over five times the legal drinking limit. Cornell University Frat House Sued for $25 Million Over House Hazing Death, ABC News, June 28, 2011 UPDATE: Freshman dies, found unresponsive in dorm, Central Florida Future, August 25, 2011 Our Miami wrongful death law firm represents families in Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and St. Lucie County. More Blog Posts: Palm Beach County Wrongful Death Lawsuit: Father Sues Ex-Wife After Their Daughter Dies from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, May 18, 2011 Palm Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Day Care Center and Driver After 2-Year-Old is Left in Van, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, August 18, 2010

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