Weird American Lawsuits – Part II

Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia has seen its share of misfortune, particularly in 1970 when it lost its football team and a number of fans in a tragic air crash. Not that this compares, but Marshall University is now making legal news as the Defendant in an action brought by a student named Louis Helmberg III. It appears that Mr. Helmberg, a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, was standing by when one of his fraternity brothers, Travis Hughes, decided to launch a bottle rocket while standing on the deck of the fraternity house. Remarkably enough, the adventurous Mr. Hughes had inserted the bottle rocket in his rear end and planned to shoot the rocket out of his rear end. Unfortunately for all concerned, the rocket prematurely detonated. Mr. Helmberg alleged that he was so startled that he jumped backwards and fell off the deck. He then sued the fraternity, Mr. Hughes, and Marshall University. He alleged that his injuries have resulted in significant medical expenses and rendered him unfit to play for the University’s baseball team.

Those American college kids certainly know how to have fun.

In his claim, he specifically alleged that “firing bottle rockets out of one’s own anus constitutes an ‘ultra-hazardous’ activity”. It’s hard to disagree.

Thankfully, in early June, a court dismissed the action as against Marshall University for procedural reasons.

Some time ago, I posted an item about Kingston Penitentiary, which I visited in connection with a lawsuit by an inmate in which I was acting for the Ministry of Correctional Services.

Somewhat reminiscent of that lawsuit is a recent action brought in Arizona by a prison inmate against the prison over a severe stomach ache. The inmate claims that prison officials recently fed him a diet that left him with a severe case of stomach cramps. The cramps allegedly were so severe that he lost the ability to sleep and caused him to wonder if the prison officials were trying to kill him.

The same inmate has also sued the prison for delivering his food late two days in a row, allegedly giving rise to the development of an eating disorder.

One would have thought that if the food was giving him cramps, he would have been only too pleased to have it delivered late…

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