San Diego State University sued in the death of fraternity pledge Dylan Hernandez

The father of Dylan Hernandez, the San Diego State University freshmen who died following a night of heavy drinking at Phi Gamma Delta, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego County Superior Court that accuses the school of negligence.



a person standing in front of a building: Dylan Hernandez died following a night of drinking at an SDSU fraternity (Courtesy of the Hernandez family)


© (Courtesy of Hernandez family)
Dylan Hernandez died following a night of drinking at an SDSU fraternity (Courtesy of the Hernandez family)

The lawsuit names nearly 20 other defendants, including SDSU; the school’s president, Adela de La Torre; the California State University system; the fraternity Hernandez was joining; individual fraternity members, and the company that made Hernandez’s dorm bed.

In November 2019 Hernandez, a 19 year-old Floridan, returned to his dorm after drinking at Phi Gamma Delta and later fell out of the bunk bed, cracking his head in what turned out to be a fatal injury.

The lawsuit alleges that the accident followed a night of partying at Phi Gamma Delta party where “Dylan and his fellow pledges were blind folded, taken upstairs, screamed at, threatened, and hit. Then, one by one, the pledges were walked downstairs blindfolded into a room full of members to learn who their ‘big brother’ and ‘family’ would be.

“Each underage pledge was again screamed at and demeaned, beaten with paddles and hands, and forced to consume shots of Vodka and Rum to the point of intoxication. Dylan and his fellow pledges became visibly and extremely intoxicated.

“By 10:00 p.m., Dylan’s speech was slurred, he could not walk on his own, he had stumbled and fallen several times, he had become ill, and he did not even have the mental or physical ability to use his own cell phone.”

SDSU said in a statement on Wednesday night: “The University has not seen the lawsuit and is not able to provide any comment at this time.”

The university has said little publicly about Hernandez’s death. But an investigation conducted by campus police says that Hernandez’s blood-alcohol level was 0.23 percent when he left the frat party. A person cannot legally operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.

The lawsuit claims that the negligence and misconduct of many led to Hernandez’s death.

Specifically, the lawsuit says that other members of Phi Gamma Delta were negligent when they encouraged Hernandez and others to drink in excess and then failed to call for help when it was clear Hernandez was extremely drunk. The suit also alleges that the university and the company that owned the fraternity’s chapter house were negligent when they failed to take substantial action against the fraternity, which had misbehaved numerous times in the years leading up to Hernandez’s death.

There were other failings, the lawsuit contends.

The manufacturer of Hernandez’s bed allegedly didn’t put warning labels on the bunk beds informing students, including Hernandez, of the possible hazards. The national fraternity organization didn’t do enough to rein in bad behavior exhibited by San Diego State’s chapter — actions they were fully capable of taking. “

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Dylan O’Brien discusses career, online presence at Berkeley Forum event

Actor Dylan O’Brien sat down virtually with the Berkeley Forum on Tuesday to speak about his experiences in the entertainment industry.

The event was livestreamed on the Berkeley Forum’s Facebook page, drawing about 1,000 viewers and more than 1,700 social media engagements. During the event, O’Brien discussed his growing career and experiences with maintaining a social media presence, in addition to giving advice for those interested in pursuing a career in entertainment.

While known for his roles on MTV’s television show “Teen Wolf” and the “Maze Runner” film series, O’Brien started out by producing a series of short comedic videos on his YouTube channel in the late 2000s before deciding to pursue acting professionally.

“I didn’t grow up acting as a kid. I wasn’t on sets,” O’Brien said during the event. “I wasn’t a child actor, and nor was I even in school, so it was something that I totally kind of just, like, picked up and was launching myself into.”

O’Brien said “Teen Wolf” became his “school” for acting. He discussed following his instincts when performing in different roles and using his background of technical skills, such as camera work and composition, to guide him through the unfamiliarity of acting on set.

According to O’Brien, the process for choosing roles changes over time, and as a new actor, it is about breaking into the industry and continuing to audition for any open role. O’Brien said he now tries to choose projects that are original and interesting, as some aspects of the industry have become a “regurgitation generation” of making sequels.

O’Brien also opened up about how his online presence has evolved. According to O’Brien, it is important for him to promote his work but also to continue to learn and understand topics outside of his work through social media. He added that he is now comfortable with using his online influence to discuss civic engagement and be more politically active.

“At some point, the bigger-than-me thing, that’s what made me get over myself,” O’Brien said during the event. “It’s about the conversation, and it’s about listening. … When I have a space to amplify a voice that has taught me so much, like in this moment, then I should do that.”

While the event was open to the public for viewing, questions were taken from UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty.

In response to a question about remaining motivated throughout his career, O’Brien said to keep believing in oneself and to understand that every career comes with moments of uncertainty.

“Never let yourself stop believing in yourself because that is what has gotten you to that point,” O’Brien said during the event.

Contact Thao Nguyen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tnguyen_dc.

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