MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) – A jury has found that Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Massachusetts student were equally responsible for his death in a fall from a fourth floor dormitory window and awarded $260,000 to his parents.

Keith Orzech, a 21-year-old junior from Sudbury, Mass., fell to his death at the Madison-Florham Park campus in 2005 after drinking heavily.

The jury on Tuesday reached a verdict of $520,000.

Because Orzech was found half responsible, the jury awarded half that amount to the parents.

Family lawyer Barry Epstein maintained that FDU failed to properly enforce its alcohol policies.

The school allows 21-year-olds to drink with certain limitations at the Madison-Florham Park campus, but its Teaneck campus permits no alcohol.

School lawyer William Staehle said he will advise FDU to appeal. He said he did not understand how the school and Orzech could be equally at fault when Orzech was one of the hosts of a drinking party.

Staehle said Orzech violated rules prohibiting excessive drinking. Orzech’s blood-alcohol level was 0.16, twice the legal limit for driving.

AP-ES-05-21-08 1856EDT


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