Sorority girls resolve court dispute

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 21, 2013

HUNTINGTON - A lawsuit involving a Sigma Sigma Sigma sister who claimed the Marshall University chapter violated sorority rules has been dismissed.

Sigma Sigma Sigma Psi Chapter; Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority Alumnae Inc.; Lynsey Hodges; Jennifer Sangid; Jessa Dingess; Laura Hatfield; Samantha Knauff; and Alexa Linz were all named as defendants in the suit.

Sarah Frances Lyon and the defendants appeared and announced to the court and Lyon agreed to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit, according to a Stipulation of Dismissal filed on June 11.

The court ordered and adjudged that the case was dismissed with prejudice and stricken from the docket of the Cabell Circuit Court, according to the dismissal.

On March 29, 2010, Lyon pledged Tri-Sigma at Marshall University, according to a complaint filed Sept. 28, 2011, in Cabell Circuit Court.

Lyon claimed on April 9, 2010, she met with a friend at the sorority house to go to a nail salon and when she arrived, she witnessed open beer cans, cases of unopened beer and other evidence of a party in multiple bedrooms. She claims she also witnessed multiple male Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity members sleeping in beds with the Tri-Sigma sorority girls.

Knowing that she had witnessed Tri-Sigma sorority rule violations and was uncomfortable seeing this activity in the sorority house, Lyon spoke with Megan Collier, the Tri-Sigma vice president, according to the suit.

On April 12, 2010, Hodges, the president of the sorority, called together all members of the past two pledge classes and requested the girls to write a paper titled, “How you currently feel about the chapter,” according to the suit.

Lyon claimed she wrote about being uncomfortable that house members had violated sorority policies by having alcohol in the house and boys upstairs.

Hodges collected the papers, rifled through the staff and pulled Lyon’s from the stack papers, according to the suit, and read it to the group, then ridiculed Lyon in front of everyone in attendance.

Lyon was sent to Honor Council on four occasions between Oct. 4, 2010, and March 18, 2011. She claimed she was accused of violating sorority policies and “conduct unbecoming of a sister.”

The defendants engaged in the systematic hazing of Lyon and made intentional/fraudulent misrepresentations during the time period in which she pledged Sigma Sigma Sigma and while she was a member, according to the suit.

Lyon was seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She was being represented by Jon D. Hoover of Hoover Andrew PLLC.

The Sigma defendants were represented by Nora Clevenger Price of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. The sorority sister defendants were represented by P. Joseph Craycraft and Bradley K. Shafer of Swartz Campbell LLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David M. Pancake.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 11-C-724

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