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Settlement reached in Nolan Burch hazing death lawsuit

The Williamsville family of Nolan Burch reached a settlement Wednesday, more than three years after his death.

The Williamsville family of Nolan Burch reached a settlement Wednesday, more than 3 years after his death.

Nolan died in 2014, the victim of acute alcohol poisoning. He drank a whole bottle of alcohol in a fraternity hazing incident, at West Virginia University.

His family filed their lawsuit in 2015, and the case was settled Wednesday in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The details of the settlement are sealed, but the family's attorney, Lawlor Quinlan, gave Channel 2 some of details revealed in open court.

Five defendants, including West Virginia University, agreed to the terms of the settlement .

WVU issued this statement:

"We believe bringing those tragic events to a resolution is best for all parties and allows Nolan's parents to continue the good work they are doing through the foundation in his name."

Also named in the lawsuit, the national Kappa Sigma fraternity, Richard Schwartz, Jordon Hankins, and the couple who owned the apartment where the frat party took place.

Schwartz was named Burke's Kappa Sigma "Big brother" who gave his "Little brother" a whole bottle of alcohol to drink. Quinlan says Schwartz agreed to pay out the largest portion of the settlement.

Hankins was the Kappa Sigma pledge master who, despite the national fraternity revoking their charter, decided to go ahead with the pledge party by hosting it at an apartment, at a complex across the street.

Quinlan says Hankins also helped Schwartz drag Nolan across the street from the frat party and back to the room where they left him to "sleep it off".

Quinlan tells Channel 2 Nolan's mother and father are satisfied with the settlement and think it's fair and justified.

"It's obviously a devastating loss to TJ and Kim," Quinlan said. "He was their only son. Their oldest child. And unfortunately again and again these incidents are happening across the country and it reopens the wound that is never going to heal anyway.

"They've become good friends with other parents who have lost their children due to hazing and fraternities. And they've worked together with those folks and they've put together a foundation in their son's name to try to prevent this sort of thing from happening again."

The Burch family established the NMB Foundation in Nolan's memory. It has two goals: to end hazing at college campuses and to convince college students to step in and help if they notice someone is intoxicated.

"We understand college kids are going to drink," explains Quinlan, "but what we're trying to do is prevent the situation where kids get extremely intoxicated and don't get the medical attention that they need. This hazing has to stop. The fraternities and universities all across this country have to learn that you can't allow this pressure to drink to continue to occur."

Quinlan says they had a toxicologist in court Wednesday who was ready to testify to the fact that if someone had called 911 from that college party in 2014, it would have saved his life.

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