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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBS/AP) — A Connecticut university is denying wrongdoing in the choking death of a student during a pancake eating contest on campus in 2017. Lawyers for Sacred Heart University in Fairfield blamed Caitlin Nelson’s own actions for her death, in court documents filed Tuesday in response to a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Nelson’s mother.

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The 20-year-old junior social work major choked on the pancakes during a charity fundraiser in March 2017 and died three days later at a New York City hospital.

“It’s a tragic event that started out as something fun,” said Fairfield police Lt. Bob Kalamaras at the time.”It was just a tragic accident.”

Her mother, Rosanne Nelson, of Clark, New Jersey, is seeking an undisclosed amount of money and accuses the Catholic school of approving the contest despite the dangers, and failing to provide adequate medical personnel.

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Caitlin Nelson’s father, police officer James Nelson, died in the Sept. 11 attacks in Manhattan.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)