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Castle

Three members of Psi Upsilon, the fraternity commonly known as Castle, are named as co-defendants in a personal injury lawsuit alleging negligence

Credit: Mona Lee

A Penn alumna is suing the University chapter of Psi Upsilon, commonly known as Castle, alleging she was badly burned by a large, flaming marshmallow at a 2017 Halloween party.

Jessica Davis, a 2018 Nursing graduate, filed the civil suit on Wednesday in federal court accusing the fraternity of negligence. 

The legal complaint names the fraternity, its national office, and the landlord of the event venue, in addition to three fraternity members: 2018 College and Engineering graduate Vadim Ordovsky-Tanaevsky, Wharton senior Patrick Lobo, and Engineering junior Edmund Hammond, as co-defendants. 

Thomas Fox, the executive director of Psi Upsilon, wrote in an email that the international office learned of the suit on Thursday and had not yet received the legal documents. Fox declined to comment.

Davis, Ordovsky-Tanaevsky, Lobo, and Hammond did not respond to request for comment. 

Davis's complaint states the alleged incident took place at a fraternity event, "Magic Gardens Halloween," on Oct. 27, 2017 at an off-campus venue at 5126 Warren St. 

According to legal documents, Castle raked in upwards of $60,000 in entrance fees from the event and provided ample amounts of free alcohol to attendees throughout the four-hour party. 

Davis, the complaint states, was standing near an unmonitored fire pit around 11:30 p.m., wearing a shirt with an open back. Another party guest, who was not identified in the suit, was drunk and attempting to roast a marshmallow on a stick. 

The marshmallow quickly caught fire. In an attempt to put it out, the guest shook the stick causing the flaming marshmallow to separate from the stick and adhere to Davis's bare back.  

The incident, Davis claims, resulted in a serious burn to her middle and lower back as well as subsequent permanent scarring.

Davis contends that her injury could have been prevented if the fraternity had provided adequate supervision to protect the swarm of roughly 1,000 students who were partying and drinking around open flames. 

The suit notes that the party organizers did hire two security guards for the event, as is now mandated by social guidelines that the University officially implemented in March. The guards manned the doors to the venue and never entered the party. 

Kevin Clancy Boylan, an attorney for the personal injury firm Morgan & Morgan Philadelphia, is representing Davis in the case. He is seeking upwards of $150,000 in compensation for his client.  

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