Family of former UT student awarded $16.2M

October 23, 2008 5:59:57 PM PDT
A state district judge has issued a $16.2 million judgment to the parents of a University of Texas freshman who died two years ago. Authorities said the death was an alcohol-related hazing incident.

Yesterday's court decision says the national and university chapters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity must each pay the parents of Marietta, Ga., native Tyler Cross $2.5 million -- for mental anguish.

They also have to pay nearly $81,000 for funeral expenses and other costs.

An attorney says a state district judge issued the order after the national and local branches of the organization failed to respond to a lawsuit by the parents.

A civil case against the organization's alumni board and housing corporation is pending.

The Austin American-Statesman reports the national and local branch can seek a new trial if attorneys can explain why they did not respond to the suit and can present a defense to the allegations.

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