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Lawsuit Filed After Family Loses Son to Fraternity Hazing

Photo of Randy Sorrels

Hazing has been a part of fraternity lifestyle for years, and even though some people enjoy the culture, it can be harmful to its members and their families. In 2019, Sam Martinez was one of these members that lost his life while being hazed during a college fraternity event. After being pressured into drinking a half gallon of rum, Martinez lost consciousness and succumbed to the alcohol poisoning, which was not discovered until the next morning.

The Martinez family is now seeking retribution for the loss of their son's life and is suing the college, the fraternity (Alpha Tao Omega) and some of its specific members. Sam's mother, Jolayne Houtz, even wrote an opinion piece in a local paper demanding a reformation of the college fraternity system, asking for the end of organizations that enable and perpetuate violence, injustice, and destructive behavior.

Along with a demand for change, Mrs. Houtz has suggested the Greek system become more transparent, enact an effective enforcement and has even offered up the idea that students wait until their second years to join Greek life. In response to Martinez's death, the IFC revised its education and reporting requirements and has even banned liquor in fraternity houses and their sponsored events.

If you or someone you know has been injured by fraternity hazing, please contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 1-800-594-4884.

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