Fraternity sued after hazing incident leaves former Minnesota student unconscious

Two Minnesota parents are suing a University of Missouri fraternity after their son was found unresponsive with a blood alcohol content more than six times the legal limit – the result of an alleged "pledge party" hazing incident.

Thomas and Mary Pat, of Eden Prairie, have filed a lawsuit in Boone County, Missouri, alleging pledges of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, including their son Daniel, were expected to drink an entire bottle of alcohol as part of a fraternity tradition and initiation. In the lawsuit 20 defendants are being alleged negligent in the event.  

Authorities say on Oct. 20, 2021, Santulli was found unresponsive in a car at University Hospital with a blood alcohol content of .468. He currently remains unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings and unable to communicate as the result of a significant brain injury. 

Daniel Santulli

The lawsuit further alleges that prior to the incident Santulli endured an "unrelenting and debilitating" pledge process that included being ordered to climb inside a trash can that had broken glass in it (resulting in cuts that needed stitches), and repeatedly being ordered to clean other "brothers" rooms, as well as, bring them food, alcohol and marijuana at all hours of the night.

Phi Gamma Delta was founded in 1848, and has "initiated" more than 200,000 pledges. Currently there are approximately 144 Phi Gamma Delta chapters throughout the United States, according to the lawsuit. The fraternity claims to have a strict "no alcohol" policy in its chapter houses unless an exemption is granted.

"The chapter at the University of Missouri is suspended by the International Fraternity, and we continue to provide support and cooperation when requested by local authorities as they pursue their investigation," said fraternity executive director Rob Caudill in a statement. "We expect all chapters and members to follow the law and abide by the fraternity’s policies, which prohibit hazing and the provision of alcohol to minors."

The Chi Mu chapter currently has six previous alcohol-related violations known by the University of Missouri.