01/09/2013 12:53 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2013

Pot Brownie Lawsuit: Barry Russo Files Claim Against Copper Hill Country Club For Alleged Prank

A 68-year-old man with diabetes is suing a private country club and several of its members for allegedly duping him into eating a pot brownie that landed him in the hospital, the Courier News of Bridgewater reports.

The alleged incident took place during a golf outing in June at the Copper Hill Country Club in New Jersey. Two men, identified as James Kavanagh Jr. and Gregg Chaplin in the lawsuit, allegedly told Barry Russo to try a brownie in the locker room. The Courier News notes that Russo initially declined the invitation, but according to a claim, the men eventually convinced him to eat the brownie.

From there, the news outlet reports, Russo experienced dizziness and other symptoms similar to when he'd experienced a stroke. Russo was then told about the pot brownie and asked for medical assistance, but his claim states that help was delayed by the club staff in order to cover up the prank.

The Star-Ledger contacted the two men accused of duping Russo by telephone. Chaplin, for his part, told the news outlet that the accusations were entirely false.

"That’s totally untrue. There’s no truth whatsover in that," he said. "That’s the most bizarre thing I ever heard."

Kavanagh, too, denied the accusations to the Star-Ledger, but he declined to comment beyond that. The club's former president, James MacDonald, also reached by phone, told the news outlet that he was unaware of the lawsuit but didn't elaborate.

Pot brownie pranks have a history of being taken very seriously by law enforcement.

Last month, two University of Colorado Boulder students were arrested for giving a professor and members of their class brownies that were laced with marijuana. The professor landed in the hospital, as did several other students.

Back in 2006, a Texas prank involving pot-laced bran muffins resulted in an FBI investigation. The agency initially looked at whether terrorists might be responsible for the contaminated food, until they learned it was marijuana. The two students who reportedly led the prank faced charges of felony assault.

In those incidents, the people eating the baked goods were unaware of their contents, but several other cases that have resulted in charges involved people selling pot brownies to willing buyers.

Visit the Courier News of Bridgewater and the Star-Ledger for more information regarding the pot brownie lawsuit.



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