Purdue parents awarded $500,000 settlement
August 31, 2007
__University creates a scholarship to honor student who died last January__
After a freshman at Purdue University died due to an alcohol-related accident, the parents of the student were awarded a $500,000 settlement and the university established a scholarship fund in the student’s name.
p. Freshman Wade Steffey disappeared last January for two months after attending a fraternity party.
p. His body was recovered in a utility room, and a report from a consulting group hired by Purdue to investigate the accident concluded that he died after touching an electrically-charged transformer while feeling his way through the dark room. His blood alcohol content was above 0.08.
p. Purdue officials stated that the utility room was searched in the days following Steffey’s disappearance, but not thoroughly.
p. “This agreement brings to a close a tragic chapter in the history of the Purdue family,” Purdue Vice President for University Relations Joseph Bennett said to the Washington Post. “The entire university community continues to mourn for the loss of this young man.”
p. The family sued Purdue and won the settlement Aug. 28. The settlement includes the Wade Steffey Memorial Scholarship, which will be partially run by Steffey’s parents.
p. The fund will be available in fall 2008 for students from Indiana attending Purdue.
p. Indiana law mandates that no settlement for damages exceed $500,000, and many other states have similar limits.
p. The settlement fund far exceeds Virginia state law’s cap on settlements for damages, which is $100,000. The families of the 32 Virginia Tech massacre victims were each given $180,000, while wounded students received less.