Personal Injury Lawyer Adds New Defendants to Clemson Soccer-Hazing Case
Personal injury lawyers for Haley Ellen Hung adds two new defendants to a hazing lawsuit filed by the former member of the Clemson University women’s soccer team, and a federal judge issued a confidentiality order to shield certain documents in the case from public view.
In documents posted Friday, the personal injury suit filed by former Clemson soccer player Haley Ellen Hunt adds to the list of defendants Sarah Jacobs of Greer and Rachel Hurd Bottoms of Phoenix, Arizona.
Both are former members of the Clemson women’s soccer team, according to Clemson athletics websites. Jacobs was listed as a graduate of Riverside High School and a math teaching major.
The amended lawsuit adds them to a list of 14 other former team members it alleges were involved in hazing her in August 2011. The alleged hazing includes kidnapping Hunt, forcing her into the trunk of a car, making her perform “humiliating and demeaning acts” in which she suffered a serious head injury.
It was not known if the two new defendants have attorneys, and attempts to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.
A personal injury lawyer for Hunt declined to comment on the latest filings in the case.
Hunt asked for the confidentiality order, which U.S. District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks issued on Monday.
The other team-member defendants approved of the order, which shields from public disclosure documents such as medical and academic records and other records, with the judge’s approval.
Clemson administrators named as defendants in the lawsuit fought the order, saying it was too broad.
Attorneys for Marvin Carmichael, Terry Don Phillips and Kyle Young, who were chief of staff, athletic director and coach, respectively, at the time the alleged incidents, couldn’t be reached.
The coaches, in their answer to the suit, deny the “characterization” of the incident. They acknowledge that Hunt was injured but say the “damages were caused by the greater negligence and/or willfulness of the Plaintiff.”
The lawsuit claims that Hunt “suffered severe and permanent personal injuries including a traumatic brain injury.”
It alleges that the rituals have been a part of the team’s tradition since the early 1900s and “included blindfolding the freshmen players at night, forcing them into the rear compartments of automobiles, driving the freshmen players around, forcing them to participate in embarrassing and humiliating acts, and forcing them to participate in a secret ritual using team gear on the team’s home soccer field, Riggs Field.”
It claims that the hazing process was “a mandatory team activity.”
The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 15 by personal injury lawyers, alleges that on Aug. 18, 2011, the players named as defendants blindfolded Hunt, who was wearing pajamas, and other freshmen players and forced them into the rear compartments of their vehicles.
It claims they were driven around to several locations for about 30 minutes, during which they were commanded to get out of the car several times to perform “humiliating and demeaning acts.”
After being taken to Riggs Field, Hunt was taken into a dark room adjacent to the field and spun around in circles “to disorient her and impair her balance,” the lawsuit alleges.
Then she was ordered to sprint down the field blindfolded, it claims.
“Unaware of where she was running because of the blindfold, Ms. Hunt veered away from the field and sprinted directly — face first — into a brick wall,” the lawsuit alleges.
The university, in its answer, denies a tradition of hazing on the soccer team.
The 36-page lawsuit seeks punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs, “and for such other further relief as the court deems just and proper.”
It demands a jury trial.