TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida A&M University is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed against the university by the family of a drum major who died last November after a hazing ritual.
Monday's filing by the university said the wrongful death lawsuit from the family of drum major Robert Champion should be dismissed on several grounds.
Among them, the university claims Champion should have refused to participate in hazing events. The university also said taxpayers should not be held liable for what it called Champion's "imprudent and avoidable decision."
According to the motion, Champion knew the "dangers of participating in hazing." The motion also states he fully understood it was against the law and even signed an anti-hazing pledge just months before his death.
The documents also argue Champion allowed himself to be subjected to the hazing act known as "the hot seat" during a ritual called the "crossing over," where he was punched, kicked and hit with objects. And lawyers said he did that even after watching two others go through the same thing.
Attorneys for the school said Champion contemplated going through the hazing months before and did it to "garner the respect of some band mates."
Champion's family filed their lawsuit against the school in February and said the university is to blame because it failed to stop the culture of hazing within the famed band.
An attorney for the Champion family says it's committed to clearing Champion's name and holding FAMU accountable for allowing hazing to go on for years.
FAMU said Champion knew the dangers of hazing before his death last November following the Florida Classic. Champion died after being beaten by fellow band members aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after the football game.
In May, 11 other band members were charged with felony hazing. Their trial is set to begin in Orange County on Oct. 8. The band has also been suspended since Champion's death.
The university's president and band director both resigned.