Penn State would like to have James Vivenzio’s case heard in Centre County.
The former student who opened the Kappa Delta Rho can of worms disagrees.
In documents filed in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 6, Aaron Freiwald, the attorney representing James Vivenzio, argued to keep the case in Philadelphia.
Vivenzio touched off a controversy in March 2015 when State College police revealed an investigation into the fraternity. Vivenzio had told police about a secret Facebook page that detailed things like drugs, hazing and unconscious nude women.
James Vivenzio revealed the existence of secret Facebook page, entitled “2.0.” State College police made their investigation of Kappa Delta Rho public in March 2015.
In June, he followed that up with a lawsuit against Penn State, the interfraternity council, KDR’s national and local chapters and Penn State’s KDR alumni group, and the unveiling of a website, www.endhazingnow.com.
But in September, Penn State’s attorney, James Keller, of Saul Ewing, filed a motion to bring the case back to Centre County, where Vivenzio alleged the offenses, including being burned with cigarettes and forced to drink liquor mixed with vomit and urine, occurred.
Keller argued that there was no reason to file the case in Philadelphia court since Vivenzio was a University Park student. Vivenzio is not a resident of Philadelphia, living with his family in Virginia. The only other named person in the suit, Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct investigator Danny Shaha, is a Centre County resident, Keller wrote, saying there was no reason to conduct the case in the eastern part of the state.
Freiwald countered with the university’s own advertising campaign. Penn State, the commonwealth’s land grant university, has campuses all over Pennsylvania, including in the Philadelphia area, and advertises its educational opportunities.
Penn State cannot pick and choose when Philadelphia is or is not vexatious or oppressive.
Aaron Freiwald, attorney for James Vivenzio
The plaintiff found one such “large, brightly lit” advertisement just outside the courthouse in Philadelphia. Freiwald argued that proved the location, almost 200 miles from Old Main, was not “oppressive and vexatious” for the university.
There is no decision yet. A hearing on the arguments will be held Wednesday in Philadelphia.