Georgia residents who visit county-owned recreational facilities may want to be aware of the legal consequences in case of an accident. The family of a man who died after being ejected from Ralph Wilson Stadium in New York in November 2012 has announced plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Erie County, the owner of the stadium. The man was allegedly drunk, and after authorities allowed him to walk away, he fell into a nearby creek and drowned.
The claim is expected to focus on the quality of the fencing and lighting at the creek and attack the decision to let the man walk away in his intoxicated state. The man’s family claims that the county is responsible for the safety of all its patrons at its football stadium, even those who are ejected. The reasoning behind the lawsuit seems to be that Erie County was negligent because dangerous conditions existed at the creek where the man died, so it is therefore responsible for his death.
One detail that complicates the plaintiff’s case is that after the man was ejected, he called his brother, who was also at the game, and told him he had been tossed out. His brother allegedly stayed at the game and said they would meet later at a nearby bar. Because of this, the jury could rule in favor of the defendant.
Stadium owners walk a fine line when it comes to drunken fans. Stadiums that don’t eject a drunk fan run the risk of being liable for someone getting hurt, and if they do, they could be held responsible if something happens to the fan. A lawyer specializing in premises liability may be able to represent individuals who find themselves injured due to unsafe conditions. Victims and their families may be able to obtain compensation for injuries and pain and suffering.
Source: NBC Sports, “Family of ejected Bills fan plans to sue for wrongful death“, Mike Florio, June 23, 2013