Former FAMU Band Member Wins $1.8 Million Verdict in Hazing Suit

Former FAMU Band Member Wins $1.8 Million Verdict in Hazing SuitTALLAHASSEE, Fla.

A former Florida A&M University marching band member who was badly beaten during a 2001 hazing incident won a $1.8 million verdict in a civil battery case. Marcus Parker, now 21, was beaten so badly with a paddling board during a Marching 100 initiation that one of his kidneys temporarily shut down. He has been through four surgeries, and will likely require a kidney transplant, said his lawyer David Frank.

After a two-day trial, jurors found five men liable for damages. An attorney will collect the award by garnishing the defendants’ wages and going after their assets, Frank said.

“I feel like justice was served, and I’m just glad it’s over,” Parker said.

The five men — Eric Biggins, David Benoit, Anthony Gamble, Sean McGriff and Jimmy Simmons — did not appear at the trial. All either could not be reached or declined to comment.

Records show Parker, a trumpet player from Jacksonville, settled with FAMU a year ago for a confidential amount.

Hazing is illegal under Florida law, and FAMU maintains a “zero tolerance” policy that includes kicking any students caught hazing out of the band. Though other hazing victims have sued the university, this case marked the first time a victim has gone after individuals involved, Frank said.

— The Associated Press

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