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Stanford professor and VP sue university after son dies of fentanyl overdose at campus frat house

Stanford says ‘we do not agree with many of the allegations in the complaint’

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 20 January 2022 14:54 GMT
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Two parents who work at Stanford University have sued the educational institution as a “last resort to seek justice” for the death of their son from a fentanyl overdose at a fraternity house two years ago.

Amir Weiner, associate professor of history, and Julia Erwin-Weiner, associate vice president at Stanford’s Medical Centre Development, had filed a wrongful death suit against the university and the on-campus Theta Delta Chi fraternity house.

Their son Eitan Weiner died at the age of 19 on the floor of a bathroom stall of the fraternity house after consuming counterfeit Percocet pills.

The lawsuit was filed on 1 December last year, reported the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, to which the family gave an interview published on Wednesday.

The family said the lawsuit was to prevent similar deaths on the campus and served as a “last resort to seek justice” for Weiner, who had died on 17 January 2020.

The couple said they had tried to seek reforms and accountability from the university for the last two years over the death of their son, who would have graduated in June this year.

The Weiner couple have served the institution for nearly 30 years since 1995.

The family alleges in the lawsuit that “neither Stanford, nor the fraternity took any meaningful action” even after “discovering a controlled substance inside the fraternity house”.

“There were actions and inactions that precipitated the death of our son that could have so easily been avoided had policies and procedures been followed, had follow-up been done, and had someone said something,” Ms Weiner told the Chronicle.

“For us, there is just no peace without justice. You don’t get justice without some level of accountability and owning what went wrong. In learning and owning that, you also learn how to prevent it the next time.”

Responding to the reports, university officials said they were “saddened” by Weiner’s death but did not agree with many of the allegations made in the lawsuit.

“We were saddened to receive news of this lawsuit as our community continues to mourn Eitan’s tragic death, and we have great sympathy for his family and those affected by it,” Dee Mostofi, assistant vice president of the university’s media relations and communications, said in a statement.

“Stanford cannot comment on the specifics of the pending litigation, but we can say that we do not agree with many of the allegations in the complaint and we will defend the university against this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit also named Weiner’s high school classmate Matthew Ming Carpenter, who police say has admitted to selling controlled substances to Weiner and other students and is scheduled to enter a guilty plea on the charge on 27 January.

According to the court filing, the fraternity house’s resident assistant became aware Weiner had lost the ability to move or speak in the evening of 15 January 2020, days before his death.

The resident assistant had called 911 on the direction of the dean, but Weiner declined treatment at that time and the resident assistant did not take any other “immediate actions,” something the lawsuit claimed to be a violation of university policies, reported the Chronicle.

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