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Emmette L. Barran, III v. Kappa Alpha Order, Inc.

Supreme Court of Alabama
730 So. 2d 203 (1998)


Facts

Jason Jones (plaintiff) became a pledge of Kappa Alpha Order, Inc. (KA) (defendant), a fraternity at Auburn University. Within two days of pledging’s beginning, members of KA began to haze Jones and other pledges, including by means of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Approximately 20 to 40 percent of Jones’s pledge class withdrew from pledging, as it was entitled to do. Jones did not withdraw but continued pledging and submitting himself to hazing for the entire academic year. Jones filed suit against KA and individual members of the Auburn chapter of KA for negligence. Jones admitted in his deposition that he was free to withdraw from the fraternity and cease subjecting himself to the hazing at any time. KA filed a motion for summary judgment based on the defense of assumption of the risk. The trial court granted the motion. The court of civil appeals reversed, finding that, due to peer pressure, Jones’s exposure to the harm was not voluntary but coerced. KA appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (See, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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