An attorney for a Roswell family confirmed that they have won a lawsuit following their son’s death in a 2017 hazing incident while pledging for a fraternity. The Louisiana jury awarded the parents, Steve Gruver and Rae Ann Gruver, a settlement of $6.1 million in the case. The victim, Max Gruver, died in an alcohol-related hazing event at Louisiana State University at the age of 18. His blood-alcohol level was six times the legal limit to drive in Louisiana. A 22-year-old man was accused of being involved in Gruver’s death but his charges were later dropped.
An ex-Phi Delta Theta member was sentenced to five years in prison, but a judge suspended all but 2½ years of the term. Two other former LSU students and ex-Phi Delta Theta members were sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading no contest to misdemeanor hazing and testifying at Naquin’s trial. The Gruver family filed a lawsuit against several parties, including LSU and the chapters of Phi Delta Theta, after their son’s death.
Gruver’s death led to the passage of anti-hazing laws in 2018, making hazing a felony. A similar bill called the “Max Gruver Act” was passed in Georgia in 2021, which expanded the definition of hazing and established a process for investigating hazing incidents.
The Gruver family has already received multiple settlements, including an $875,000 settlement from the university, and the exact amount they will receive is not yet confirmed, according to the attorney. The family plans to establish the Max Gruver foundation to educate students about the dangers of hazing and prevent any more hazing-related deaths as a way of honoring their son.