A Palo Alto family is suing Stanford University, and several others, after their son died of an accidental overdose at his fraternity two years ago.
The Weiner family is ingrained in the university. Both parents are faculty members, daughter, Ya’El, is a graduate, and in 2020 their son Eitan was a sophomore and goalie on the club soccer team.
“[Stanford] has been over a quarter of a century of our family’s life,” said mother Julia Erwin-Weiner. “That’s what makes this so difficult.”
Eitan had just come back from winter break.
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“I really remember that time as one of the first moments of realization in a young person’s life that they’re becoming friends with their siblings,” said sister Ya’El Weiner.
Eitan was a member of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity and it was there in 2020 he died at the house. The medical examiner says it was an accidental fentanyl overdose.
“It was almost unbelievable,” said Julia.
The Weiners are now suing the school, filing a wrongful death lawsuit – naming Stanford University, the fraternity that has since been disbanded at the school, and six other individuals.
“It just felt like the worst nightmare came true,” said Ya’El. ”He’s been held accountable with his life. The institutions, organizations, and individuals who basically ushered him to his grave have not been held accountable.”
Eitan’s father Amir Weiner said, “For two years, we’ve been begging and pleading with the university to hold the institutions and individuals who had any role, any part in Eitan's death, to hold them accountable. For two years, we’ve got nothing."
“The university is culpable because it failed to follow its own policies,” said attorney Carlos Gonzalez. “What should have happened after that, within the residence dorm life system at Stanford there should have been reports made. There should have been an intervention. There should have been steps taken to make sure there were no controlled substances within the house.”
Dee Mostofi, associated vice president of the University Media Relations and Communications, replied with a statement saying:
"We were saddened to receive news of this lawsuit as our community continues to mourn eitan’s tragic death, and we have great sympathy for his family and those affected by it. We do not agree with many of the allegations in the complaint and we will defend the university against this lawsuit."
“He was this brilliant life force, and to do nothing to seek justice for him just feels so wrong,” said Julia.