Parents sue Stanford over son’s overdose death

A male student was found dead this morning (Jan. 17) in the Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Stanford. Google photo.
Eitan Michael Weiner, 19, was found dead in the Theta Delta Chi fraternity house at Stanford on Jan. 17, 2020. Google photo.

By the Daily Post staff

“In the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2020, 19-year-old Eitan Michael Weiner died alone in a bathroom stall at the Theta Delta Chi (“TDX”) fraternity house on the Stanford campus,” the lawsuit begins. “Although Eitan’s body lay just a few feet away, not one of his roommates, let alone anyone else in this busy house, sounded an alarm.

“A janitor would eventually find Eitan’s body later that morning when she went inside to clean the bathroom. Sadly, this tragedy — which was years in the making — could have been prevented.”

And so begins a Santa Clara County Superior Court lawsuit brought by the Los Altos parents of Eitan Weiner against Stanford, TDX, an alleged drug dealer and three current or former students who the suit claims were involved in the drug deal that led to Weiner’s death.

The lawsuit claims that defendant Matthew Ming Carpenter has been arrested in Santa Clara County on charges that he sold the drugs that caused the death of Weiner.

The three current or former students — identified as Cole Dill-De Sa, William Mitchell and Muhammad Khattak — lived with Weiner at TDX and “aided and abetted” in obtaining the drugs, the suit claims.

The suit says that Eitan died after consuming Perocet laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a man-made opioid like morphine but 50-100 times more powerful.

Eitan’s parents — both long-time Stanford employees — say the university:

• ignored health warnings about counterfeit Perocet;

• failed to follow its own procedures to protect students;

• didn’t remove TDX from campus despite “continuous violations of the university’s policies” and instead pandered to donors to allow the fraternity to stay open.

“Stanford long knew that it had a problem with drugs on campus,” the lawsuit states. “Moreover the university knew that it had an acute problem with drug use among members of the Greek community. And within that select community, Stanford knew that it had a serious problem with TDX.”

“Yet, despite the incontrovertible evidence, the university continued to allow TDX and its members to engage in reckless and illegal conduct for years,” the suit said. “Sadly, even after Eitan’s death, Stanford would still drag its feet in taking action against this toxic organization.”

Stanford issued a statement that says in part:

“Stanford was saddened to receive news of a lawsuit brought by the family of Eitan Weiner. Our community continues to mourn Eitan’s tragic death in January 2020, and we have great sympathy for his family and those affected by his death.

“Out of respect for Eitan’s parents, who are valued employees, the university is not addressing the specifics of each claim in the lawsuit nor elaborating on the chain of events that occurred. However, the university disagrees with many of the allegations in the complaint and will defend itself against the lawsuit.”

Eitan’s parents are Julia Erwin-Weiner, associate vice president for Stanford Medical Center Development, and Amir Weiner, a Stanford associate professor of history and director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Their daughter, Ya’el Weiner, graduated in 2019 and Eitan would have graduated this spring.

Eitan graduated from Los Altos High School. He planned to major in history and loved soccer and hip-hop, according to a January 2019 campus email from Stanford President for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole. He was a student employee at the conservative Hoover Institution, according to an online Stanford profile.

After the initial criminal investigation concluded, Stanford said it undertook its own investigation, which resulted in removing university recognition of TDX. The fraternity is no longer active at Stanford.

“Whether and when the fraternity can ask to return to Stanford, and under what conditions, has not yet been decided, pending receipt of any new information that may be revealed during the ongoing criminal proceedings against the individual (not affiliated with Stanford) who provided the controlled substance to Eitan,” Stanford said in its statement, parenthesis theirs.


  1. Frightening how with a top engaged student and elite parents, Eitan didn’t know that drugs can kill, not just render him speechless and motionless for two days. The young men all knew these were illegal drugs and therefore didn’t want to call the authorities. When the EMT came, they lied to the EMTs!
    The parents and friends will one day acknowledge that for some reason, Eitan took illegal drugs on purpose, and became his own victim. Stanford or his parents could not have stopped him anymore than the city of SF can stop the street addicts from overdosing. He probably had experience with other drugs and also had the time and money to play such dangerous games.

  2. A tragic death and everybody feels sympathy for Eitan’s parents. But how far should society go to protect people from themselves? Eitan voluntarily consumed these drugs. How would Stanford stop that from happening. College students experimenting with drugs goes back decades. Most kids don’t die from it, but it’s a dangerous activity. How far should we go to intervene in the lives of students to protect them from such things? Should their rooms be inspected each day for drugs? Should we require drug tests as a condition of attending classes? Sometimes people are responsible for their own fates, and a lawsuit can’t change that.

    • Student dies of overdose, parents blame. Drug apparently supplied by student’s (off campus?) high school friend – Matthew Ming Carpenter – currently awaiting trial for dealing. Resident assistant called 911, student refused medical attention. Stanford can’t monitor every student every minute against every danger. Nobody wants that. The news reports do not mention how much in monetary damages is being sought, only that suing is the parents last resort seeking justice. In this case, a lawsuit seems unjust.

  3. Stanford “ignored warnings about counterfeit Percoset”? So the consumer protection movement meets the world of illegal drug abuse, and Stanford has a duty to warn that the drugs people buy illegally may not be “the real thing”?

  4. Hope this goes to a jury trial and Stanford isn’t cowed into settling out of court. I’m not usually a fan of Stanford, but this seems unfair to say they should monitor the activity of everyone on campus. I realize the family must be very sad and that the pain lingers on two years after the boy’s death. But their impulse shouldn’t be to sue!

  5. A legal adult takes a drug laced with Fentanyl and pays the ultimate price. Stanford cannot act in the place of a parent for an adult. Parents are understandably devastated and looking to place blame on the university. The dealer is partially responsible. The addict himself is responsible.

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