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UI student injured in 2009 fall sues school

A University of Idaho student who suffered serious injuries in a 27-foot fall from a fraternity house window two years ago is suing the school.

Amanda Andaverde, who is from Caldwell, and her family filed a lawsuit in 2nd District Court on Sept. 7 in northern Idaho claiming the third-floor window at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity did not have proper hardware to prevent it from fully opening.

The window had no stop, locks or “other devices to prevent it from fully opening nor to prevent a person from falling through it,” according to the lawsuit.

The fraternity, Andaverde’s sorority and the state Board of Education are also named in her complaint, the Lewiston Tribune reported on Sept. 8.

The university was not immediately available for questions but does not typically comment on pending litigation, the newspaper reported.

Andaverde was the second student to fall from a fraternity house window at the university shortly after fall classes started in August 2009, prompting the school to begin a review of safety measures at Greek housing on campus.

On Aug. 29, 2009, then 20-year-old Shane Meyer fell from a third-story window at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries. About two weeks later, then 19-year-old Andaverde suffered several fractures in a fall at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Andaverde has debilitating injuries from the fall that include a traumatic brain injury and she is still in the process of relearning how to “walk, speak and function as normally as she can,” according to her lawsuit.

She and her family claim the fraternity is at fault because of the lack of window hardware and that as a pledge at the Delta Delta Delta sorority, Andaverde should have been protected by older members and prevented from drinking at a fraternity party the night she was injured.

The lawsuit also claims the university and the state Board of Education are responsible because they regulate the Greek system and should have known “one or more dangerous conditions existed” at the third-floor sleeping porch where Andaverde fell through the window from a bunk bed.

At the time, the university reported at least three other students besides Andaverde and Meyer had fallen from Greek houses in the previous four or five years.

A 21-year-old student from Boise broke both of his legs and ankles after a 50-foot drop from his fraternity window at the Beta Theta Pi house in March 2006.

In 2008, a student was standing on the roof of a fraternity house taking down holiday decorations when he slipped on ice and fell. Also that year, a freshman fell from a second-floor fire escape at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, but she was not injured.

As part of the university’s safety review in 2009, the respective house corporations, which privately own and manage the fraternity and sorority properties on the Moscow campus, were asked to perform detailed safety audits on their houses, with particular attention to upper stories.

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