It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man on the deck of a fraternity house in proximity to a drunk shooting bottle rockets out of his anus should recognize himself amidst potentially hazardous circumstances.
But in this iconoclastic modern world, not everyone recognizes universal truths. Certainly neither Louis Helmburg III nor his lawyer Timothy P. Rosinsky recognize them. Perhaps that's why they are suing the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity of Huntington, West Virginia, as well as hapless human asscannon Travis Hughes.
To hear Louis the Third tell it in his complaint, he was innocently standing on the deck of the ATO House at Marshall University, no doubt thinking about community service or church or his Org Chem homework, whilst some fraternity kids — and you'd better sit down, this will be difficult to grasp — were drinking underage and engaged in hijinks. Tumult ensued.
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.
9. Upon information and belief, there were several other ATO fraternity members on the deck at the time of this incident, including one or more officers of the fraternity. Plaintiff and his girlfriend were also present on the ATO deck.
10. Defendant Hughes placed a bottle rocket in his anus, ignited the fuse, but instead oflaunching, the bottle rocket blew up in Defendant's rectum, and this startled plaintiff and caused him to jump back, at which time he fell off of the A TO deck, and he became lodged between the deck and an air conditioner unit adjacent to the deck.
Yes. Louis The Third went to a fraternity party, stood around while fraternity kids drank, and when one of them tried to shoot a bottle rocket of out his ass, he was "startled" and fell off of the deck and injured himself.
Believe it or not, I lived in an ATO house my senior year of college. No, I wasn't in a fraternity. ATO had been kicked off campus sometime back in the mists of prehistory, I believe, and their house converted into a dorm. How awesome was it? It had a roof deck. It had a sauna. Let me repeat — it had a sauna. Are you imagining it? Are you imagining why that was awesome? Yes. Yes it was.
But I digress.
Even as an insufferably nerdy college senior, I recognized that hijinks at an ATO House — even an ATO house converted into a dorm — posed patent risks. That's why I didn't sue the university the time I injured myself leaping out of a second-story window (the sophomores with water balloons and pellet guns were watching my door; it was the only way to flank them) or the time that I fell asleep in the sauna while intoxicated and dehydrated myself to the point of blurred vision. Because life has risks. And certain activities involve increased risks. Standing on fraternity decks while people drink and try to shoot rockets out of their asses is inherently and obviously risky.
But this is America. We sue. We sue even if we decided to stand on that no-railing deck during a drunken party and watch the guy light the fuse. In America, someone else is always responsible.
Hat tip to friend and law school classmate Marc on this one.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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