Traverse City News and Events

Traverse City Law Firm To Be Featured On Sunday's '60 Minutes'

By Craig Manning | Nov. 22, 2021

If you tune into 60 Minutes on CBS this coming Sunday, you’ll hear a bit about a Traverse City business and the work they do around the country. According to local lawyer Douglas E. Fierberg, who owns the downtown-based Fierberg National Law Group, the lead story on the November 28 episode of 60 Minutes will explore fraternity violence and his firm’s work around that topic.

“Among other matters, our firm handles school violence and fraternity hazing death cases across the country,” Fierberg tells The Ticker. “One of our cases involves the death of Sam Martinez at Washington State University. 60 Minutes reached out to do some in-depth coverage of that matter, along with other high-risk circumstances in the fraternity industry that result in numerous injuries and deaths every year.”

Martinez died of alcohol poisoning in November 2019 after a party at a Washington State University fraternity. He was a 19-year-old freshman at the time, and was pledging to join the fraternity in question, Alpha Tau Omega. Martinez’s parents filed a wrongful death case against both the fraternity and the university last year, claiming that Martinez and another pledge were given a half-gallon of hard liquor by older fraternity members and told to drink the entire contents by the end of the night. The lawsuit is still ongoing, though three former members of the fraternity pleaded guilty in September to charges of furnishing liquor to a minor.

Fierberg’s firm has taken on numerous other high-profile national cases related to hazing and excessive drinking at fraternities, including cases involving sexual assaults and traumatic injuries. One of those was the death of Steven Petz, a Ferris State University student from northern Michigan who died because of hazing-related alcohol poisoning in 2000.

Fierberg says 60 Minutes flew him out to New York in August to be interviewed by Anderson Cooper.

60 Minutes airs Sunday evenings at 7pm on CBS.

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