The parents of Alex Grant, the Boston College student who drowned in an upstate New York creek last March, have filed a lawsuit against nine men they allege played a role in their son’s death by providing him and his childhood friend, Michael Perlow, with alcohol.
The lawsuit was filed last Monday in Saratoga County Supreme Court and seeks $5 million to be paid to Grant’s parents, Kenneth and Deanna Grant, of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., for the loss of their son.
The cause of action of the suit is listed as the wrongful death of Grant as the result of alcohol allegedly provided to him by the defendants. The defendants named in the suit are Seth Berger, Brendan Flynn, Ian Bain, Charles Sullivan, Brian Milazzo, Jonathan Hoeg, Bryan Connolly, Matthew Diaco and Nicholas Yedibalian, all identified as residents of Saratoga County.
Grant visited Perlow at Skidmore College on Mar. 5, 2011. While there, he and Perlow attended an off-campus party. At the party, Grant and Perlow became separated, and Grant ended up lost on his way back to Perlow’s room.
Surveillance cameras at a nearby train station showed Grant walking across the tracks in the early morning, and later footage showed him breaking into a small building and then leaving sometime later. After almost three days of searching, Grant was found dead in four feet of water.
Police stated that hypothermia, combined with alcohol, may have explained Grant’s disorientation at the time of his death.
A police investigation undertaken after Grant’s death resulted in uncooperative witnesses and no criminal charges, despite Grant’s parents’ hope that any students involved would come forward.
The nine men named as defendants in the lawsuit include four of Perlow’s roommates at the time of the events, four men who hosted the off-campus party, and one man who allegedly purchased the alcohol that Perlow and Grant consumed. Perlow is not named as a defendant.
The lawsuit chronicles the events that allegedly occurred during Grant’s visit to Skidmore College, including the consumption of alcohol in Perlow’s dorm room that the lawsuit claims was provided by the defendants.
The lawsuit also claims that on the bus to the party, Grant told Perlow that he was inebriated and unable to care for himself, and as a result Perlow assured Grant that he would return him to his room safely. The defendants are alleged to have provided Grant and Perlow with alcohol despite “full knowledge” that the two were not of the legal drinking age.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants are thus responsible for both Grant’s disoriented state, as observed on the security footage, and for Perlow’s inability to care for Grant and return him to his room.
The first cause of action listed in the lawsuit cites General Obligations Law §11-110(1), which reads, “Any person who shall be injured in person, property, means of support or otherwise, by reason of the intoxication or impairment of ability of any person under the age of twenty-one years, whether resulting in his death or not, shall have a right of action to recover actual damages against any person who knowingly causes such intoxication or impairment of ability by unlawfully furnishing to or unlawfully assisting in procuring alcoholic beverages for such person with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that such person was under the age of twenty-one years.”
The second cause of action cites a wrongful death, claiming that the alleged provision of alcohol to Grant by the defendants was unlawful and directly resulted in his death.
Albany-based attorney John Hoggan, who is representing Grant’s parents in this case, was contacted but was unavailable for comment.