Ross crashed the truck carrying beer kegs into a group of people tailgating at a 2011 Harvard-Yale game, killing Barry and injuring student Sarah Short and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach. He
was charged with negligent homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.
After Sigma Phi Epsilon's national organization distanced itself from the Yale chapter, the families of Short and Barry filed multi-million dollar suits against local members.
“They did everything the fraternity asked of them and God forbid something unfortunate happens and the national just runs away from them,” said Paul Edwards, the Barry family attorney, said of the national fraternity. “It’s ugly, and it’s unusual.”
“[The national fraternity and its insurance], to try to save money, are trying to distance themselves from the case,” said Short's lawyer Joel Faxon. “[The local chapter] has been thrown under the bus … by the national fraternity, so the only remedy that our client has is to sue the local fraternity.”
Faxon said that national fraternities typically agree to help embattled local chapters. But he said that when the homeowners or automobile insurance companies are forced to payout on behalf of the fraternity brothers, they are likely to sue the national organization.