LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — UNLV has offered the family of a student who died in a fraternity boxing match a $150,000 settlement, according to documents obtained by the 8 News Now I-Team. A lawyer for the family told the I-Team the family is declining the offer.
Nathan Valencia collapsed after his match for charity on Nov. 19, 2021, and died four days later from head injuries.
In February, Valencia’s parents filed a lawsuit against UNLV, the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Kappa Sigma Fraternity which held the event, the Sahara Event Center where the event took place, and Christopher Eisenhauer who participated as a referee without a referee license. The lawsuit alleges negligence and wrongful death, and states that Nathan Valencia suffered “intense physical and mental pain, disfigurement, shock, and agony” prior to his death on Nov. 23, 2021.
Attorney Benjamin Cloward of the Richard Harris Law Firm provided the following statement to the I-Team regarding UNLV’s offer:
“Actions speak louder than words. UNLV has not taken any significant steps to ensure that something like this never happens to another student and instead has chosen to try and sweep what happened to Nathan under the rug. The offer made by UNLV speaks loudly as to UNLV’s true concern for the Valencia family, Nathan’s memory and future student safety. We sincerely hope that at some point UNLV will begin to take this matter seriously.”
The I-Team first uncovered how there was a lack of oversight in the planning and execution of the event. Video first obtained by the I-Team showed the unlicensed referee drinking what appears to be alcohol at the event.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission stated that it did not have jurisdiction over the event because college and university matches were exempt, per state law. In December, commissioners put in place an emergency regulation called “Nathan’s Law” aimed at closing that loophole.
The Nevada Attorney General’s office investigated circumstances surrounding Valencia’s death and concluded that numerous protocols were not followed to keep the event safe for participants.
UNLV issued a statement early Tuesday afternoon:
UNLV does not comment on ongoing litigation.Francis McCabe, UNLV Director of Public Affairs
As we have previously stated: “We continue to mourn the loss of Nathan Valencia and extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends. UNLV has been transparent throughout this process and issued an independent review of this off-campus event with the clear goal of further safeguarding our students and preventing such tragedies in the future.”
For your reference, under Nevada State Law (NRS 41.035) the maximum award allowed for a state agency in a civil case for claims prior to July 1, 2022 may not exceed the sum of $150,000.