HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (CN) – A college student claims he was injured when a fraternity member in a “drunken stupor” decided “that it would be a good idea to shoot bottle rockets out of his anus,” and did so, “but instead of launching, the bottle rocket blew up in the defendant’s rectum, and this startled the plaintiff and caused him to jump back,” and fall off the fraternity’s deck.
Louis Helmburg III sued The Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity Inc., of Huntington, West Virginia, and Travis Hughes, a fraternity member, in Cabell County Court.
Helmburg claims – in a statement it would be difficult to deny – that “firing bottle rockets out of one’s own anus constitutes an ‘ultra-hazardous’ activity,” which exposes both defendants to strict liability.
Helmburg says he suffered pain and medical expenses, and lost playing time on the Marshall University baseball team. He claims the Alpha Tau deck from which he fell lacked a railing, which violated Huntington building codes.
Helmburg says the fiasco came at about 1:30 a.m. on May 1, 2011, at an Alpha Tau house party he attended with his girlfriend.
“Several of the people in attendance at said house party were under the legal drinking age, including defendant Travis Hughes,” the complaint states. “Most of the persons in attendance at said house party were also consuming alcohol with the full knowledge and consent of the ATO fraternity.”
Several Alpha Tau members were on the deck when Hughes got his bright idea, including one or more fraternity officers, Helmburg says.
The complaint states: “Defendant Hughes was highly intoxicated on this date and time, and decided in his drunken stupor that it would be a good idea to shoot bottle rockets out of his anus on the ATO deck, located on the back of the ATO house. …
“Defendant Hughes placed a bottle rocket in his anus, ignited the fuse, but instead of launching, the bottle rocket blew up in the defendant’s rectum, and this startled the plaintiff and caused him to jump back, at which time he fell off of the ATO deck, and he became lodged between the deck and an air conditioner unit adjacent the deck.
“There was no railing on said deck at the time of the incident. Upon information and belief, the lack of a railing had existed for at least several months, if not years, before the incident. Upon further information and belief, the deck never had a railing when it was installed, or any time thereafter. The subject deck was approximately 3-4 feet high.”
Helmburg says Alpha Tau negligently failed to supervise its guests and members, “such as defendant Hughes, and other under age persons, from consuming alcohol on its premises, which leads to stupid and dangerous activities, such as shooting bottle rockets out of one’s own anus.”
As for Hughes, Helmburg says, “Defendant Hughes also owed plaintiff and others on the ATO deck a duty of care not to drink under age, or to fire bottle rockets out of his anus.”
It is unclear from the 5-page complaint whether Hughes was injured, or how badly, when the bottle rocket exploded in his rectum.
Helmburg seeks damages for negligence and strict liability.
He is represented by Timothy Rosinsky of Huntington.