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Woman suing Patriots for $10 million in damages

Woman suing Patriots for $10 million in damages over her husband’s 2010 death at stadium
By Eric Edholm | Shutdown Corner, 8/21/2013

According to the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, the wife of a deceased Patriots fan is suing the team and NFL for at least $10 million in damages for the death of her husband during a 2010 game at Gillette Stadium.

Kimberly Chartier, a native of nearby Chicopee, Mass., is filing a civil suit against the team, alleging that the franchise and three other parties are responsible for the death of Jeffrey Chartier, 40, in the season opener that year. Gillette Stadium operator NPS and security service provider TeamOps also are named in the suit, according to the Republican’s report.

Reports surfaced at the time that an altercation with a security guard during the Week 1 game against the Bengals immediately preceded Chartier’s death.

The suit indicates that Chartier was invited to go on the field before the game with his then-6-year-old son, Tedy, by two team officials. Reportedly, Tedy did not have a field pass and was denied access by a security guard identified as Arthur Sherman.

Following a 15-minute confrontation, Chartier returned to his seat where he is believed to have suffered a heart attack. The suit says that stress related to the argument with the security guard was the cause of the heart attack.

The filing reads:

“Jeff Chartier died as a result of cardiac arrest that was precipitated by agitation and stress caused by an interaction with a security guard at Gillette Stadium who inappropriately and unnecessarily confronted Jeff Chartier and his son Tedy in a harsh, unprofessional, confrontational, disrespectful and antagonistic manner.”

Chartier had been a season-ticket holder since the start of the 2000 season and named his son after former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.

The Patriots held a moment of silence of Chartier’s death prior to their next home game, two weeks later against the Bills. The team also donated a Tom Brady jersey for auction to raise money for his family, and owner Robert Kraft, Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett and media spokesman Stacey James attended Chartier’s funeral, according to the report.

Atlanta Braves Fan Dies After 65-Foot Fall at Turner Field

By Brett Snider, Esq. on August 13, 2013 12:30 PM

An Atlanta Braves fan died after falling six stories from the upper seating deck of Turner Field on Monday.

Ronald Lee Homer, 29, of Conyers, Georgia, was attending the baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies and appeared to have sustained his fatal injuries from an accidental fall, reports Atlanta’s WSB-TV.

This is the second fatal accident to occur at Turner Field in the last five years, and the historic baseball venue may be facing legal trouble.

Falls From the Upper Deck

In addition to Homer’s accidental death on Monday, 25-year-old Justin Hayes fell to his death from Turner Field’s upper deck in 2008, reports ABC News.

It is often difficult in these cases to prove how an “accidental” fall was caused. If Homer’s family chooses to sue Turner Field for wrongful death, they may face scrutiny over their son’s actions.

Toxicology reports are still being processed to determine if drugs or alcohol were in Homer’s system before his death, as police had determined that Hayes’ fall was due in part to alcohol, reports ABC News.

Slippery conditions may also have been a possible factor, as Homer’s fall occurred during a rain delay.

Potential Premises Liability

There are actually a surprising number of ways to injure yourself at sports arenas, and Homer’s fall was one of many tragic deaths that occur at stadiums across the country.

Venues like Turner Field are typically liable for injuries that occur due to hazards on their property under the theory of premises liability. As an “invitee” of the venue, a ticket-holding Braves fan like Homer is owed a certain degree of care by Turner Field.

Although it is unclear if Homer’s family has yet chosen to sue, sports stadiums can be held liable for any manner of injuries on their property, from falling on ice to even an exposed electrical outlet.

If they do choose to sue, Homer’s family may try to prove that Turner Field could have known about the hazardous conditions of the upper deck due to Hayes’ death in 2008, and possibly had a duty to warn patrons about risk of falling or to install a safety rail or netting.

Regardless of Turner Field’s liability, Homer’s death makes this the “third time a sports fan has fallen from the stands in Atlanta” in the past year, reports WSB-TV.

Banking on Booze

Athletic Management

“Cheers to the Rockets!” could be the battle cry of University of Toledo fans this fall, as the school was recently issued a permit to sell alcohol at home football and basketball contests. Toledo joins 22 other NCAA Division I FBS institutions and three fellow members of the Mid-American Conference in this practice.

Toledo Athletic Director Mike O’Brien spoke out in favor of this policy change in May. He thinks it’s something the Rockets faithful will enjoy.

“Obviously our stance on responsible behavior from our fans won’t change,” he told The Toledo Blade. “That’s always in place. A number of schools have done this and some of our fans have asked about it. We thought this was the year to make this move.”

In the past, fans were only allowed to purchase alcohol in suite or luxury areas of the football stadium and basketball arena. Offerings will be provided by local distributors and will include Budweiser, Coors, and Michelob beers, with a pint selling for $6. Wine will also be available.

With nearby Bowling Green State University raking in approximately $25,000 a year from beer sales at football games, Toledo is confident it will turn a profit from this decision. However, O’Brien believes the benefits of selling alcohol go beyond dollars and cents.

“The financial piece is clearly a part of it, but it could also create for a more entertaining experience during our events,” he said.

Athletic Management recently featured a cover story on colleges allowing alcohol at their athletic contests, and like the schools mentioned in the article, Toledo will have safeguards in place to ensure legal consumption. For instance, concessions employees will be required to attend training and police officers will be present wherever alcohol is sold. Any individual purchasing beer or wine will be asked to show identification and will be limited to purchasing two beverages at a time. And alcohol sales will stop at the end of the third quarter in football and midway through the second half at basketball contests.

“All of the alcohol service management items will be in place to ensure responsible consumption,” O’Brien said.

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