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Former OU Student and Son of Cowboy’s Legend Sues Fraternity for Brain Injuries

Blake Novacek, son of former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek, is suing Oklahoma University-based fraternity Beta Theta Pi and affiliated organizations for significant injuries he sustained after he was hit by a baseball bat in a hazing ritual. According to the lawsuit, Novacek is seeking monetary relief of more than $150,000 from Beta Theta Pi, Beta Theta Pi Corporation of Oklahoma, the Gamma Phi (OU) Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, as well as Shane Muselmann and Gavin Martindale, two members of the Gamma Phi Chapter who were allegedly involved in the incident.

During the early morning hours of October 11, 2015, Blake Novacek and the other pledges of the Gamma Phi Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity were called to the organization’s fraternity house. The pledges were greeted by nearly 100 current and former members of the organization. After Blake Novacek was brought to one of the rooms in the house, he was blindfolded and asked to recite certain portions of fraternity information that were coined “pledge facts.” When Novacek failed to properly recite the information, a drunk Shane Muselmann hit Novacek in the stomach with a baseball bat. Novacek then fell backward, hitting his head, causing him to lose consciousness.

Novacek eventually regained consciousness ten hours later on a fraternity couch. Gavin Martindale, a member of Beta Theta Pi, then confronted Novacek, telling him that if he told anyone about the incident, Martindale would ruin the reputation of Novacek’s family, damage Novacek’s property, and have Novacek kicked out of school. Novacek later met with his pledge class president to inform him of the incident. A day later, Novacek’s car was vandalized. After the incident, Novacek was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder. Because of the incident, Novacek’s school performance plummeted and his memory deteriorated. Novacek was forced to drop out of school and return to live with his father.

The lawsuit alleges that actions of Shane Muselmann and Gavin Martindale constituted hazing and blackmail. The lawsuit also claims that by beating him and later threatening him, Muselmann and Martindale caused Novacek severe emotional distress. The lawsuit then claims that the three entities of Beta Theta Pi are liable for the actions of Muselmann and Martindale because the two members were acting as agents of those entities. Finally, the lawsuit alleges that the actions of each entity and each member were the cause for Novacek’s brain injuries.

Hazing incidents can cause lasting injuries to promising students. If you or someone you know has been injured by hazing, it is important to find a skilled law firm with experience handling these cases to ensure that companies are held fully accountable. The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the oldest personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys are standing by to assist with your claim. Call us today at 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884 for your free consultation.

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