It was supposed to be just like every other annual Harvard-Yale game: a lively, fierce rivalry coupled with students and alumni cheering and tailgating.
But on Nov. 19, 2011, one tailgate festivity got out of hand: Brendan Ross, a member of the Yale University chapter of fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon who was driving a rented U-Haul truck carrying beer kegs, struck and killed Nancy Barry, 30, of Salem, Mass., and injured Yale student Sarah Short and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach.
Three weeks ago, on Dec. 30, lawyers for the plaintiffs filed two additional lawsuits, suing 86 current and former members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chapter at the university over the tailgate incident.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, who sued Ross, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Yale, U-Haul and others seeking damages for Barry’s death and Short’s injuries in 2012, said they were forced to file new lawsuits because the fraternity’s national headquarters in Richmond, Va., did not take responsibility for the Yale chapter’s actions.
"This new lawsuit was created because they tried to be tricky and avoid liability in the case — where in reality, the foolishness exposed many people to the lawsuit totally unnecessarily," said Joel Faxon, a lawyer representing Short, told the Los Angeles Times.
Paul Edwards, the lawyer for Barry’s estate, echoed those complaints.
"We originally sued the national fraternity because we believe that the boys were acting as…