PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Back in September 2015, during move-in weekend at Drexel University, Ian McGibbon, a junior from Narberth, was out for the night with his Pi Kappa Phi brothers.
They were at what is described as an “all-you-can drink” event at a Delaware Avenue bar.READ MORE: Hundreds Rally For Abortion Rights In Philadelphia With Democratic Gov. Nominee Josh Shapiro, Planned Parenthood
After catching a cab back to the 3200 block of Powelton Avenue, Ian and his friends ran into trouble.
Words were exchanged with another group, and a fight broke out.
A Drexel University Public Safety incident report shows Ian was punched in the face. He fell backwards, smacking his head on the ground. In surveillance video, you can see Ian is helped back to the fraternity house.
But he had serious symptoms consistent with a serious head injury: vomiting; in and out of consciousness and being confused.
Nobody ever called his parents or 911, even as his friends struggled to walk him back to the house, right by a campus emergency beacon.
Ian reportedly had the beginnings of a promising business career.
“And instead, he’s got mom and dad helping him to put his clothes on and tie his shoes,” Roddy McGibbon, his father, told reporters at a Thursday morning news conference.
Ian McGibbon would suffer what court papers describe as a catastrophic brain injury – the alleged result from the inaction of his fraternity brothers to call 911 and get him to the ER.
“They would have been able to relieve the swelling, give him medication and prevent his brain from swelling so much they had to take the top of his skull off to relieve the pressure,” Attorney Robert Mongeluzzi said.
Pi Kappa Phi and its local chapter, Ian’s frat brothers with him that night, the two men who engaged with them in a fight, even the bar are all named in a lawsuit claiming negligence.
Nobody would answer at the Pi Kappa Phi house. There was only a man at a second floor window taking our picture.READ MORE: Brandywine Valley SPCA, Other Shelters Holding Mega Adoption Event This Weekend
“They robbed him of his chance of recovery,” Mongeluzzi said.
“It was stolen from him by the fraternity system.”
Roddy and Liz McGibbon of Narberth sensed something was wrong when Ian didn’t come home that night.
They would eventually locate him inside the frat house.
They called 911.
Had they waited, he may have been facing death.
“This has been two of the worst years of my life and I don’t want another family to have to go through what we’ve had to go through,” Roddy McGibbon said.
The following is a list of defendants in the lawsuit: Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Kappa Phi Fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, Zachary Young of Philadelphia, Nicholas Paoletti of Perkasie, Anthony Ferro of Philadelphia, Franco Ferraina of Nazareth, Matthew Lamorgese of Thornton, Cavanaugh’s River Deck, PJP Consulting, Pier 25 North, Delta Signa Phi, 39th and Sansom Corp and Gamma Chi/Delta Sigma Phi.
A full police report was taken, and documents obtained by CBS 3 show an extensive investigation was conducted by Drexel Police, but no charges were ever filed by officers.
Police wouldn’t talk to CBS 3 and Drexel University would not make anybody from the public safety department or school available for an on-camera interview.
The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 for each of the 14 counts of negligence.
The university, which is not named in the suit, provided the following statements:
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The Drexel Police conducted an investigation, notified the Office of the District Attorney and it was determined that no charges would be filed.
“The Drexel University community continues to convey its steadfast sympathy and support to Ian McGibbon and his family throughout his recovery. Student safety is of paramount concern to the University, and the campus community works diligently to provide a safe environment for all of its students, faculty and staff. In addition to campus security, Drexel’s police department, the Drexel Guardian mobile safety monitoring system, the DrexelAlert system, and the “See-Something-Say-Something” awareness campaign, the University provides training to its students, faculty and staff in bystander intervention. Promoting healthy behaviors and student safety are primary goals for the University, and they can only be achieved through a concerted community effort. The “Responsible Dragon Protocol” provides complete amnesty from disciplinary action for students who report to the proper authorities for the intention of seeking medical or safety assistance for anyone in need of emergency care. Throughout the University’s history, Fraternity and Sorority Life has been an important part of the campus community. Along with the many other student organizations on campus, fraternities and sororities are part of the fabric of the student-experience. In partnership with the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life provides training around safety and healthy behaviors as it relates to events and activities. The University also provides opportunities for training and communication about these topics in regular meetings with student leadership.
CBS 3 checked in with the DA’s office – a spokesman told Eyewitness News they never received an official referral on the incident — that meant no investigation by them.