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March 30, 2013

Fraternities worse than Animal House fail to pay for casualties

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"It was a terrible, terrible accident," Blackburn said. "I just pray for Lee every day and hope he comes out of this thing alright."

Kelly declined to comment.

Mynhardt was flown to the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, where he underwent surgery. His lungs collapsed, almost killing him.

While he once contemplated suicide, "it's not something I would ever do," he said. "You either put up with it and do your best, or you give up. I was 21 turning 22 at the time, and I figured I had a lot more going for me."

Mynhardt spent five years as an inpatient and outpatient at Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. He learned to use his biceps, which he can still control, to offset the paralysis of his triceps. Eating, sleeping, controlling pain, using a catheter to urinate - everything was new.

"To get that small bit of independence, you work harder than anything you've ever worked at in your life," he said.

Anticipating millions of dollars in lifelong medical bills, Mynhardt filed suit in a North Carolina superior court in 2008. He claimed that the university failed to police a dangerous fraternity and that the Lambda national ignored warnings about its troubled chapter. He also sued the chapter, six of its members and two other partygoers.

"Elon and the national fraternity ignored a known risk," said Michael Petty, one of Mynhardt's lawyers. "The university was very involved in its fraternities, and Lambda should have been."

A key issue in the case was whether the fraternity sponsored the off-campus party. Cassady, the local's vice president, testified in a deposition that it was an informal chapter party intended as a warm-up for the next day's "wing bowl" recruiting.

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