Property group denies allegations in bottle rocket suit - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Property group denies allegations in bottle rocket suit

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A property group says it is not responsible for a Marshall University student who alleges he was injured when he fell from a fraternity house deck after a fellow fraternity member attempted to shoot a bottle rocket out of his anus.

Louis Helmburg III filed the lawsuit earlier this year in Cabell County Circuit Court against the fraternity and member, Travis Hughes, following incidents at a May 2011 fraternity party.

"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," the suit alleged.

This plan quickly went awry, the suit continues.

"Defendant Hughes placed a bottle rocket in his anus, ignited the fuse, but instead of launching, the bottle rocket blew up in defendant's rectum," the suit asserts.

Helmburg said the explosion scared him, causing him to fall three to four feet off the fraternity deck. His suit asserts the fraternity was negligent for failing to construct a railing on the deck.

Last month, Richmond Property Group, which owns the ATO fraternity house, filed an answer to the amended complaint and also filed crossclaims against Hughes.

"Plaintiff was guilty of negligence, which proximately caused or contributed to the happening of the accident, injuries and damages of which the plaintiff complains, if any, and the plaintiff is, therefore, totally or partially barred from recovery herein by the doctrines of contributory and or comparative negligence," the answer states.

The answer also said any damages were caused by other parties of which the property group had no control over.

"The plaintiff was a voluntary participant who encouraged, participated in and or documented via cell phone video the attempt by Defendant Hughes to shoot a bottle rocket out of his anus," the answer states.