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Robert Champion's Parents Settle with Bus Driver in FAMU Hazing Lawsuit

Author: Hanson & Hanson/Tuesday, September 23, 2014/Categories: Wrongful Death, Curated Articles

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The parents of FAMU drum major Robert Champion have settled the wrongful-death lawsuit against the company that owned the bus on which their son was beaten during a band hazing in Orlando before he was pronounced dead.

The Champions' 26-year-old son died Nov. 19, 2011, after participating in a hazing ritual known as "Crossing Bus C" that required him to run from the front to the back of the bus.

The confidential pact, however, has led to another clash between Robert and Pamela Champion and Florida A&M University.

The Champions will not divulge financial terms with Fabulous Coach Lines and bus driver Wendy Mellette, 44, and will fight FAMU's efforts to see the agreements, said Christopher Chestnut, the parents' lawyer. The parents are suing the FAMU, alleging that the university fostered a culture that allowed the dangerous hazing ritual to flourish in the famous Marching 100 band for generations.

"They asked us for [the agreements] and we said no," Chestnut said of FAMU. "Our position is the bus company stepped up to the plate and resolved this. FAMU hasn't." He said the settlements are irrelevant to FAMU's culpability. A trial is tentatively set for October 2015.

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