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Lawsuit in Berkeley seeks to treat fraternities as gangs

By J. DeVoy

Where fraternities go, drinking, loud parties, hazing and lower property values — things young people generally identify as fun — are sure to follow. (Unless the frat really sucks.)  Now, the plaintiff class is seeking an injunction against the revelers under a legal theory pioneered against street gangs.  From

The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court by a homeowner and the South of Campus Neighborhood Association, seeks an injunction against alleged unruly and illegal conduct by the fraternities, including frequently disturbing the peace and encouraging underage drinking. The proposed class is made up of current and past residents, renters and property owners of the South of Campus area, in addition to visitors to the neighborhood injured by the alleged nuisances, and even members of the public who have been harmed by alleged pollution of public waterways.

In addition to the injunction, the plaintiffs want penalties for alleged violations of state and local laws, plus compensatory and general damages, special damages and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

This all sounds like stuff that comes with the territory of living around college students.  The discovery in this case should be fascinating, too, with regard to the pollution of public waterways.

Depending on how far the plaintiffs take it, though, the Greek organizations may be able to counter claim for defamation.  While hard to win, it needs to only survive a motion to dismiss to harm the class’ chance for complete victory.

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