University of Idaho Rejects $1M Settlement Offer in Fraternity Fall

July 2, 2012

A $1 million settlement offer to end a lawsuit by the family of a former University of Idaho student seriously injured in a 2009 fall from a fraternity house window has been rejected by the school and the Idaho State Board of Education.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports in a story published Saturday that officials on June 18 filed a response in 2nd District Court rejecting the proposed agreement by the parents of Amanda Andaverde. Officials said the dollar amount exceeds the school’s and Board of Education’s maximum legal liability for judgment.

Esmeralda Banda and Raul Andaverde in September filed the lawsuit claiming the university, state board and several fraternities and sororities on the Moscow campus didn’t do enough to ensure the safety of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house where she was injured.

Andaverde, who was 19 at the time, fell 27 feet and suffered bone fractures and debilitating injuries.

She and her family claim the fraternity is at fault because of the lack of window hardware and that as a pledge at the Delta Delta Delta sorority, Andaverde should have been protected by older members and prevented from drinking at a fraternity party the night she was injured.

The lawsuit also claims the university and the state Board of Education are responsible because they regulate the Greek system and should have known “one or more dangerous conditions existed” at the third-floor sleeping porch where Andaverde fell through the window from a bunk bed.

The university and state board denied responsibility when responding to the lawsuit in court documents filed earlier this year. Their attorney, Thomas Creason, filed a motion in May seeking a summary judgment in the case.

In his motion, Creason argued the university and state board had no duty to protect Andaverde from harm while she was not on university property.

The motion included an affidavit from the university’s Dean of Students Bruce Pitman. The university and the state board don’t “establish, control, regulate or supervise the policies, practices, procedures or activities of the fraternities and sororities,” Pitman said in his affidavit.

A hearing on the motion has been scheduled for Aug. 1.

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