Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Old-Timer Says He Was Poisoned With Pot

SOMERVILLE. N.J. (CN) - Two country club members "assaulted" and "poison(ed)" a 68-year-old diabetic by feeding him a brownie laced with marijuana, the man claims in court.

Barry Russo, who also has high blood pressure and has suffered a stroke, sued the Copper Hill Country Club, James Kavanagh Jr. and Gregg Chaplin, in Somerset County Court.

He claims Kavanagh and Chaplin poisoned and assaulted him by tricking him into eating a brownie they knew was stuffed with marijuana.

Russo also sued the president of the country club, James MacDonald, who he claims failed to call for medical assistance after Russo requested it.

Russo says he never took marijuana in any form until the two defendants forced it on him after a golf game on June 1, 2012.

On that day, Russo claims, "Defendants Kavanagh and Chaplin called out to plaintiff across the locker room and asked if plaintiff wanted to try some brownies.

"When plaintiff walked across the locker room to talk to defendants Kavanagh and Chaplin, defendants Kavanagh and Chaplin stated several times to plaintiff that defendant Kavanagh has taken several culinary courses for desserts and pastries and that defendant Kavanagh specialized in baking brownies."

Russo claims the men "insisted that plaintiff try one," so he did, out of politeness.

"Defendants Kavanagh and Chaplin were fully aware that [the] brownie was laced with marijuana and intentionally deceived plaintiff in order to poison him.

"Defendant Kavanagh later admitted to plaintiff that the brownie was laced with marijuana," the complaint states.

Soon, Russo claims, he began ''to feel lightheaded, anxious, dizzy, felt his blood pressure begin to rise and felt numbness and tingling in certain parts of his body." He says the symptoms were identical "to those suffered after a prior lacunar infarct stroke" he suffered.

Russo says he asked to see club president MacDonald, and asked him to call for medical assistance, but MacDonald instead walked him to the front porch to hide him from other members and guests.

Russo says he finally received treatment from paramedics after another member of the club, who had emergency medical experience, determined that Russo was in serious medical distress and called an ambulance, which took him to a hospital.

Russo claims that Kavanagh's use and distribution of the brownies was widely known around the club.

Russo seeks medical expenses, court costs and punitive damages for assault, battery, failure to warn, failure to render aid and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

He is represented by Christian McOmber of Red Bank.

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