Connolly v. Theta Chi Fraternity, 2018 Del. Super. Lexis 100 (Del. Super. Ct. Feb. 28, 2018)

Summary judgment granted in favor of all defendants, finding no duty was owed to a college student who was killed crossing the street after leaving a sorority-hosted event.

The parents of a university student sued the university, a sorority, a caterer, and a local union after their son was killed crossing a highway when he left a party hosted by a sorority. A sorority member invited the decedent to attend an off-campus event. The sorority provided bus transportation to and from the event. The decedent drank ahead of the event and decided to leave early on foot and forego the bus transportation. All defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis that they owed no duty to the decedent, they did not breach any duty, and the decedent’s own actions proximately caused his death. The court held that: (1) all claims based on premises liability failed because the injury did not occur on the defendants’ premises; (2) Delaware’s prohibition on dram shop and social host liability foreclosed the plaintiffs’ tort liability claims because the decedent’s intoxication formed the basis of the defendants’ liability; (3) the defendants owed common law tort duties to the decedent only to the extent they assumed such duties; (4) no defendant breached a duty to the decedent; and (5) the decedent’s own conduct was the proximate cause of his death.


Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2018

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