STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

University sued after student's fall causes severe injury

The parents of a University of Notre Dame freshman severely injured in a 2019 fall in a campus dormitory during a party filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the school, which they claim condoned a "quasi-fraternity atmosphere” at an on-campus residence hall.

Posted: Jul 22, 2020 12:19 PM

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The parents of a University of Notre Dame freshman severely injured in a 2019 fall in a campus dormitory during a party filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the school, which they claim condoned a "quasi-fraternity atmosphere” at an on-campus residence hall.

The lawsuit filed in St. Joseph County, Indiana, by Stephen and Debbie Tennant of Gurnee, Illinois, claims the university put their son, Sean, 20, at risk. Sean Tennant, who was 18 at the time, survived the 30-foot fall on a stairwell in Sorin Hall, but suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him with “a catastrophic decline in neurocognitive and functional abilities,” according to the lawsuit.

A Notre Dame spokesman on Tuesday said the university had yet to be served with a copy of the lawsuit and had no comment.

The lawsuit accuses the Roman Catholic university of negligence, alleging the adult rector was not inside the residence hall and failed to take precautions to ensure the safety of residents under his care despite knowing about a party.

“This is a kid who never drank in high school‚” said attorney Peter Flowers of Illinois. “(Sean) was introduced to alcohol at Notre Dame. They encourage the kids to act like the dorms are fraternities, where you’ve got kids of legal age mixed in with underage kids and inadequate policies and procedures in place, creating an unreasonably dangerous environment.”

The university, near South Bend, Indiana, does not have fraternities or sororities and requires students to live in a residence hall during their first three years at the school.

As a result of the accidental fall, Sean suffered a depressed skull fracture, brain hemorrhage and trauma to his spine that has left him unable to talk or walk without assistance or perform basic daily tasks, including bathing and dressing, the lawsuit contends.

West Lafayette
Scattered Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 80°
Kokomo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 80°
Rensselaer
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 73°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 78°
Crawfordsville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 72°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 74°
Delphi
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 74°
Monticello
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 74°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 75°
Warm-up with muggy conditions ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69975

Reported Deaths: 3007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15152724
Lake7222273
Elkhart468079
Allen3695160
St. Joseph322479
Hamilton2572104
Vanderburgh180013
Hendricks1796105
Cass17609
Johnson1674118
Porter121339
Clark112646
Tippecanoe112311
Madison87265
LaPorte85029
Howard82965
Kosciusko82412
Marshall75222
Bartholomew74947
Floyd72945
Monroe69930
Delaware66552
Dubois65512
Boone64946
Noble63829
Hancock63438
Jackson5564
LaGrange54910
Warrick54030
Shelby53027
Vigo52810
Grant51129
Dearborn47728
Morgan44034
Clinton3883
Henry36519
White34910
Montgomery34321
Wayne33710
Lawrence33227
Decatur32232
Harrison30422
Miami2602
Scott25210
Daviess25119
Greene24034
Putnam2348
Franklin23113
DeKalb2224
Jasper2162
Jennings21412
Gibson2044
Steuben2033
Ripley1947
Perry17212
Starke1707
Orange16424
Fayette1637
Posey1610
Wabash1613
Jefferson1532
Carroll1522
Fulton1502
Whitley1496
Wells1442
Knox1400
Tipton1266
Huntington1193
Washington1171
Spencer1163
Newton11410
Randolph1094
Clay1025
Adams842
Sullivan831
Jay820
Owen821
Rush804
Pulaski751
Brown701
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford562
Ohio564
Pike500
Parke491
Vermillion470
Crawford440
Switzerland430
Martin420
Union330
Warren191
Unassigned0202

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events