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Family settles with all 23 defendants in MU hazing case

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The family of a teen hospitalized after a night of drinking at a University of Missouri fraternity has settled a lawsuit with all 23 defendants, including the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Attorneys announced the settlement in court Tuesday afternoon.

MU freshman Danny Santulli went to the hospital for alcohol poisoning after drinking at Phi Gamma Delta. His family's attorney said members forced him to drink in order to join.

Daniel Santulli's parents originally filed the civil suit earlier this year saying their son left the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house after an event in October last year unconscious. Santulli's parents allege in the lawsuit that no one checked on their son after he collapsed on a couch. Later, fraternity members drove him to the hospital instead of calling 911, the family says. His blood-alcohol content was .468 -- more than five times the legal limit to drive.

His attorney, David Bianchi, claims members forced him to drink an entire bottle of vodka to join the fraternity.

"Danny was given a bottle of Tito's vodka, and the rule was you were supposed to consume it quickly, and within two hours Danny had consumed the whole bottle," Bianchi said.

Bianchi said Tuesday that the family expects to sue more fraternity members, after reviewing the fraternities surveillance footage.

In October, hundreds of students took to the streets on campus in front of the fraternity, angry at the fraternity when news broke one of their pledges had ended up in the hospital with severe alcohol poisoning.

Santulli remains unable to speak or walk in a Colorado hospital, where his attorney says he'll have a long road to recovery. The Phi Gamma Delta national organization pulled its chapter from MU shortly after this happened. The university also withdrew recognition of the fraternity and last week announced sanctions against 13 students in connection with the incident.

Bianchi has said that Santulli has accumulated $1.6 million in medical bills.

MU said at the time that its police department has forwarded information from its investigation to the Boone County prosecutor's office and a criminal investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed.

Court documents show, Daniel was struggling physically and mentally with the hazing and trying to meet the demands of the fraternity in the weeks before the incident.

The lawsuit says Daniel was subjected to unrelenting and debilitating hazing, and none of the others even tried to stop it.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

Karl Wehmhoener

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