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Fraternity Sued Over Bottle Rocket Shot From Anus

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

An attempted bottle-rocket launch from a drunken frat boy's anus backfired and caused a fellow frat boy to fall off a deck, a lawsuit claims.

Louis Helmburg III, a sophomore at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., is suing his fraternity and fellow frat brother Travis Hughes for injuries from his fall at a house party in 2011, Courthouse News Service reports.

Helmburg's lawsuit makes Hughes sound like, well, an ass. Hughes "decided in his drunken stupor that it would be a good idea to shoot bottle rockets out of his anus," Helmburg's lawsuit states. "But instead of launching, the bottle rocket blew up in the defendant's rectum."

Talk about "butt-for" causation.

The rectal rocket explosion "startled [Helmburg] and caused him to jump back," falling off the frat house's deck, the lawsuit claims. Helmburg "became lodged between the deck and an air-conditioning unit," the suit claims. The deck was about four feet off the ground.

Helmburg is suing Hughes and the Alpha Tau Omega house for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and time lost playing on Marshall's baseball team, Courthouse News reports.

Helmburg's lawsuit is based in part on the legal theory of strict liability, which holds a party liable for any consequence of an inherently dangerous activity. For example, strict liability usually applies when people store dangerous chemicals or keep vicious animals as pets.

Strict liability should also apply to Hughes' butt rocket stunt, Helmburg's suit says, because "firing bottle rockets out of one's own anus constitutes an 'ultra-hazardous' activity." (If the case proceeds to trial, a jury may get to decide that.)

Helmburg's suit also alleges negligence. Alpha Tau Omega failed to supervise the frat party, which led "to stupid and dangerous activities, such as shooting bottle rockets out of one's own anus," the suit asserts.

It's not clear how seriously Helmburg and Hughes were hurt in the anal bottle-rocket blast, or if the two frat members still hold a grudge. In the spirit of brotherhood, perhaps they'll just turn the other cheek -- once the lawsuit is resolved, that is.

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