A civil court judge sided with defense attorneys Wednesday in their motion to dismiss a complaint in civil suit filed against their clients, the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and five members of the fraternity who were charged in the hazing of a Florida A&M University student in 2006.The judge decided that the language in the document filed was unclear and did not sufficiently explain the allegations according to attorneys from both sides.
Marcus Jones, the student who alleged he was hazed while pledging the Alpha Xi chapter, filed the civil suit in 2007.
Jason Harris, Michael Morton, Cory Gray, Marcus Hughes and Brian Bowman were all charged in the first felony hazing case in Florida. Harris and Morton were convicted of felony hazing and sentenced to two years in prison. The remaining three pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor hazing and received probation.
“I think that their legal theory is flawed,” said Beverly Pohl, Jason Harris’ attorney.
She said she will probably file another motion to dismiss depending on the suit’s allegations regarding her client. Pohl said the appeals filed by Harris and Morton are still pending.
Roosevelt Randolph, Marcus Jones’ attorney, said this is just a part of the process.
“We need to change the language of the complaint,” Randolph said. “We’ll go through these technicalities.”
He said the judge gave him 20 days to re-file and he plans to do so.
“At some point down the line I will start taking depositions,” Randolph said.
He said he plans to interview everyone who was associated with the case including all the pledges on Marcus’ line as well as people he called John Does – men who might have not been members of the local chapter, but people he said he believes were present.
He said that unlike in the criminal trial, witnesses will not be able to plead the Fifth Amendment, which people could use to keep from testifying if they believe their testimony could incriminate themselves.
Jones is seeking damages for medical bills and pain and suffering, but Randolph said the amount he will request will not be determined until later in the process.
“When someone has been through what he has been through it is not something you get over very easily,” Randolph said of his client’s current state.