The stereotype of college fraternities and sororities is depicted in scenes from the 1970s movie, Animal House, where debaucherous young men cause chaos and seek promiscuous young women. Those images still exist, but concerns over binge drinking, sexual assault and other forms of violence on campus at Greek organizations has resulted in increased litigation. Defendants may include individuals, the local chapter, the national chapter and the college itself.
While many of these cases make major headlines, some are much more benign – but sometimes no less damaging.
Take the recent sorority liability lawsuit out of Ohio, where an undergraduate member suffered a severe leg injury while trying to exit a door of the home. Her case is predicated on the legal theory of premises liability. This is the notion that owners and managers of property have a responsibility to those legally on site to protect them from danger that isn’t obvious, or at least warn them of it.