Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Dead Man's Family Sues Stadium District After Fatal Fall at Mile High

On October 24, 2016, Jason Coy fell about 60 feet from a stairwell on the north side of Mile High Stadium after a Broncos game. The 36-year-old suffered several blunt force injuries to his head, skull, neck, and torso, and was pronounced dead early morning the next day.

Last week, Coy's widow and his five children filed a premises liability lawsuit against the Metropolitan Football Stadium District and the stadium's management company, claiming Mile High "contained a defective, unsafe, non-obvious and dangerous condition in a fire escape corridor and staircase on which [Coy] fell to his death."

Protecting Patrons

Police say Coy, an ardent Denver Broncos fan, had been sitting on a staircase railing before falling. According to the lawsuit, filed by Leslie Coy and their five children, the stairs had "inadequate staircase railings" that "constituted an unreasonable risk of injury or death to patrons." The suit claims the staircase should've included a guardrail to "prevent patrons from falling several stories."

"If the stairway complied with all applicable codes, it will be very, very difficult for this wrongful death suit to be successful," according to Scott Robinson from 9News in Denver. "If it can be shown that the stadium should have designed those stair steps in a different way to more safely protect patrons, then there's a possibility for recovery in the wrongful death suit. The problem is that so many people have used those same stairs without a problem in the past."

Serving Patrons?

Curiously, the suit also names three John Does: an unidentified food vendor at the stadium, an unidentified beverage vendor, and an unidentified person responsible for security and safety of patrons. Although Coy's autopsy showed his blood alcohol content level was .171, over the state's legal limit for driving, there are no claims that the Coy was overserved. In any case, Colorado injury law doesn't allow lawsuits to be brought by patrons against bars or liquor stores; just those brought by people injured by overserved patrons.

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