SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former San Diego State University student has filed a lawsuit against a fraternity he tried to join after he was allegedly left with cognitive impairment following a hazing incident gone wrong.
Benjamin Brennan had his life ahead of him and dreamed of being a film developer when he was left in critical condition in 2021.
Brennan is now suing the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and nine frat members. His lawyers told a press conference Friday the young man’s life was forever changed following a hazing incident during initiation week.
“He was in the hospital for several days fighting for his life and thank God he did survive but then after that, he had a new life and that life has not been very pretty,” said attorney James Frantz.
Brennan was not present at the press conference Friday. His lawyers told reporters he was given a 750 mL bottle of rum to drink in 30 minutes.
After he drank, he passed out and became unresponsive and members of the frat took him to the ER and then allegedly fled, his lawyers said.
Brennan was left in a coma fighting for his life and given a one percent chance of survival, Frantz said.
“He suffers from severe cogitative impairment now, which is no surprise from being immersed with that much alcohol. He has significant PTSD, severe they say. He’s anxious all the time.”
The alleged incident happened at a Kappa Sigma fraternity house about 1,000 meters from the official SDSU campus, lawyers said Friday. Court documents say it took place during a ‘Big Brother’ ritual on April 16, 2021, where students were confined, encouraged, and coerced to consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
The fraternity had already been banned from San Diego State University’s campus when the incident happened. It was later expelled in 2022 and will not be allowed to apply to be back until 2031 though its frat house could easily be mistaken for being on campus.
San Diego State University is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Michael Perez is co-counsel on the case. He said San Diego Police were brought in to investigate and have referred it to the District Attorney.
“One of the purposes of why we’re bringing this case is for people to be held accountable and certainly these young men are playing a very dangerous game that could have ended in loss of life so there should be criminal charges.”
ABC 10News asked the Kappa Sigma fraternity for comment but hasn’t received a response.
Reporter Austin Grabish was asked to leave the frat house property when he identified himself as a journalist and asked if there was someone in charge he could speak to.
A fire alarm started going off at the frat house Friday evening while reporters went live from outside it. The fire department was called, and the alarm later went off.