Hazing Lawsuits Are Set for Trial | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

Two lawsuits alleging that Army and Navy Cadets were hazed while in the Army and Navy Academy located in Carlsbad, New Mexico are set for trial. Both lawsuits allege that the cadets were exposed to a systemic and sadomasochistic hazing at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad.

In one lawsuit, a cadet alleges that a group of other cadets forced another underage cadet to drink alcohol, and once the cadet inebriated, the other cadets beat him, and then “applied topical analgesic heat rub cream” to parts of his body and sodomized him with a broomstick. The plaintiff, who had been a cadet at the school for two semesters at the time of the alleged assault, had been subjected to harassment and beatings as soon as he entered the school. On his first day at the school and at other times, he was forced to play a game called “body shot,” in which he and another young cadet were told to fight each other or face fighting an older cadet.

In the second lawsuit, a former cadet sued a school administrator and the academy, among others, as sharing responsibility for sexual molestation of the cadet. The attorney for the cadets described a culture of secrecy at the Academy where cadets are discouraged from reporting wrongdoing in what amounts to a “conspiracy of silence” that also is encouraged by adults on campus.

These cases are prime examples of how hazing occurs. There is typically a sense of tradition attached to the behaviors that the members of the group use as some sort of rite of passage that the victim must endure before the victim is permitted to become an official member of the group. These rites of passage tend to focus on efforts to humiliate, embarrass and often times even involve physical or sexual assault that may cause permanent physical and mental injuries, and in some cases even result in death. Then, after the fact, the group involved often tends to “circle the wagon” to protect the organization and the individuals involved as part of the Code of Silence. Education and enforcement of anti-hazing policies and laws appear to be the best ways to combat this counter-culture and to expose these groups and behaviors. Holding those involved accountable is an important step towards stopping the cycle of abuse so that others will know that these illegal behaviors will not be tolerated.

If you or a loved one is seriously injured or killed as a result of a hazing incident, it is important that you take action quickly to protect your rights. Communicating in writing with the appropriate organizational, educational and police authorities to properly and timely document your complaints is extremely important. Some schools and universities have extremely short deadlines (sometimes as short as 48 hours from the time of the incident) in their Codes of Conduct to report such conduct if you desire for the institution to take any action. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to know your rights.

Montes Herald Law Group, LLP

Attorney: Rachel Montes

1121 Kinwest Parkway, Suite 100

Irving, Texas 75063

Telephone (214) 522-9401


Kandace Hull (30) and her daughter Autumn (14) were killed when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by John Barton (29). Mrs. Hull was pronounced dead at the scene, and her daughter Autum later passed away at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Police report that John Barton (29) was intoxicated at the time of the collision. Police say that collision took place around 2:00 A.M. Easter morning as Barton switched lanes at a high rate of speed and rear-ended Kandace Hull’s Nissan Sentra, causing both vehicles to go into a sping and propelling the Hull’s vehicle approximately 600 feet down Interstate 35E near Highway 121 in Lewisville, Texas. “Speed is a possible factor involved in this,” Lynn said. “There was a severe impact – a front-to-back impact – which pushed the trunk area of the Nissan into the passenger compartment.”

In addition, to the tragic deaths of Mrs. Hull and her daughter, her husband Anthony “Tony” Hull and two other children were also injured in the collision and were transported to area hospitals. Tony Hull is reported to be in serious condition. The condition of the children have not been released.

This incident is obviously drawing the attention of police, prosecutors and the public not only because of the seriousness of the wreck, but also because this is fourth time Barton has been arrested for an incident connected with drunken driving. He has two prior DWI charges in Denton County and one in Tarrant County. One indicator that the prosecutors are taking a very serious approach to this case is the fact that the charges for intoxication manslaughter have been upgraded to murder because of John Barton’s previous record of drunk driving. In addition, Barton is being charged with counts of intoxication assault.

Barton and a passenger in his vehicle were not injured. According to public records, Barton has served jail time for drunken driving and was free on parole.

No information has been released about where John Barton may have purchased or consumed the alcoholic beverages in the hours prior to the collision. In Texas, commercial establishments that sell alcoholic beverages can be held liable for serving alcoholic beverages to a person who is under the age of 21 (“a minor” under Texas law) or for serving a person who is obviously intoxicated. Bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages are supposed to have measures in place to ensure that only persons of legal age are sold and permitted to consume alcoholic beverages on the premises. Then, for those customers who are of legal age to purchase and to consume alcoholic beverages, the bar and the servers have a legal obligation not to serve their patrons so much alcohol that the patron becomes intoxicated. Further, if a patron does become obviously intoxicated that bar should take steps to arrange for alternate transportation to protect not only their patron from being injured but to also to protect the public from being involved in a collision with an intoxicated driver.

We are trying to get a grass roots campaign for support of new legislation that may change those numbers and save lives by trying to prevent drivers who have already been convicted of drug and alcohol related offenses from being sold alcohol.

The Problem: Far too often when you hear a story that a drunk driver killed someone in a wreck, you also hear that the drunk driver had previously been convicted of drunk driving and was on probation for those charges at the time of the wreck. The question is why are people who are on probation for drug and alcohol related charges being allowed to purchase alcohol when the conditions of their probation specifically state that they are not permitted to purchase or to consume alcohol. The answer is simple. Businesses that sell alcohol have no way of knowing that a customer is on probation and is not permitted to purchase or to consume alcohol. As a result, if the customer presents a valid ID, they are able to purchase the alcohol.

Stop the Insanity

We need to a way to make it obvious to any seller of alcohol that the person who is purchasing the alcohol is not permitted to purchase or to consume alcoholic beverages. This can be accomplished by enacting new laws that require a change in driver’s licenses and identification cards, and the presentment of those forms of identification any time that a person purchases alcohol regardless of his or her age. The fundamental steps that can be taken at little to no cost to the citizens of the State of Texas are:

1. Require that anytime someone is put on probation for an alcohol or drug related offense, that the terms of probation include a prohibition from purchasing or consuming any alcoholic beverages. This measure is usually already included in terms of most probations involving drugs and alcohol.

2. Require that to be eligible for probation, any person who is convicted of a drug or alcohol related offense, either obtain a new Texas Identification Card or Driver’s License which changes the profile of the identification card to the same profile as persons under the age of 21 years of age and that is marked with the words “No Alcohol.” All of the fees for obtaining the new identification would be paid by the offenders.

3. Require that any person or company that sells, serves or provides alcoholic beverages card each person to whom alcohol is sold or provided regardless of the age of the person who is purchasing or receiving the alcoholic beverage.

4. Make it illegal to sell, serve or to provide alcoholic beverages to any person who presents an identification card with the words “No Alcohol.”

Obviously, this legislation will not stop all drunk driving, but it may cut down on some of the worst offenders, and we believe it is a reasonable and cost effective way of reducing drunk driving incidents and saving lives.

If you agree with us, we would appreciate your joining our Facebook family, and leaving a brief comment that you support this effort. Then, please tell as many of your friends and family to do the same so that we can have some momentum as we continue to try to meet with State Legislators to do something to make Texas a safer place for all of us. After all, Texas deserves to be #1, but #1 in safety. You can find us on Facebook by searching for “Montes Herald Law Group, LLP.”

Montes Law Group, PC

Attorney: Rachel Montes

1121 Kinwest Parkway, Suite 100
Irving, Texas 75063
Telephone (214) 522-9401