Robert Champion, a drum major in Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band, performs during halftime of a football game in Orlando in November. (image credit Joseph Brown III/The Tampa Tribune/AP/USA Today)
Orlando (via USA Today) -- Florida A&M University says drum major Robert Champion's own "imprudent, avoidable" actions are responsible for his hazing death and that the school should not be held responsible, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Champion, 26, died in November during a brutal hazing incident aboard a band bus in Orlando.
The university's legal opinion in the case comes in a 23-page motion seeking dismissal of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Champion's family, the newspaper says.
The document, filed Monday night, says Champion, a member of the famed Marching 100 band, died doing something that that he knew violated state law and university policy.
"Respectfully, as a 26 year old adult and leader in FAMU's band, Mr. Champion should have refused to participate in the planned hazing event and reported it to law enforcement or University administrators." the document say, according to the Sentinel. "Under these circumstances, Florida's taxpayers should not be held financially liable to Mr Champion's Estate for the ultimate result of his own imprudent, avoidable and tragic decision and death."
Champion's parents have charged that the school is at least partly to blame for their son's death for not stopping a culture of hazing within the school's Marching 100 band.
Twelve former members of the band have been charged with felony hazing in his s death. All have pleaded not guilty to the third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, the newspaper says.