In dramatic court testimony, Max Gruver’s friend describes deadly fraternity hazing

In dramatic court testimony, Max Gruver's friend describes deadly fraternity hazing
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The university and many of Isto’s frat brothers have already reached settlements with the Gruver family in the years leading up to trial.

LSU was one of the last holdouts, agreeing to a settlement in December, according to court records. U.S. District Chief Judge Shelly Dick, who is presiding over the trial, dismissed LSU from the lawsuit Jan. 4.

Allstate Canada’s attorney met with the Gruvers’ legal team in December but the sides failed to reach a settlement, court records show.

Gruver had a blood-alcohol level of .495, more than six times Louisiana’s legal limit to drive, when he died just a few weeks after arriving to the LSU campus. He and Rabalais lived in dorms across the hall from each other and grew to become friends during the pledging process, Rabalais said. Gruver’s parents dabbed away tears as they watched him break down over their son’s death on the stand.

“It’s changed my life to this day,” he said. “You never want to lose a friend, especially someone as nice and kindhearted as him (Max). He was like a big teddy bear, everybody loved him. It was senseless.”

The Gruver parents, in their original suit, claimed LSU was “deliberately indifferent to the serious and substantial risks male students” faced in the university’s Greek life.

The case drew national attention and had statewide ramifications. Gruver’s parents pressed for stiffer penalties for hazing, prompting Gov. John Bel Edwards to sign the Max Gruver Act into law in 2018. The legislation and other anti-hazing bills enhanced the consequences for hazing in the state.

Isto, Matthew Naquin, Patrick Forde and Sean Paul Gott were indicted in Gruver’s death. Naquin was convicted of negligent homicide in July 2019 and sentenced to five years behind bars, with 2 ½ years suspended. He was released from prison in April 2020.

Forde was not prosecuted. Isto and Gott pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor hazing charge in September 2018 and both were sentenced to 30 days in jail.


About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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