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Defendant: Structure defect caused race scaffold to fall

January 9, 2019

One of three defendants sued by four people injured by a falling scaffold during a March binational race says any defects in the structure are a result of the other parties and that intervening causes, including Acts of God, caused the accident.

Daniel Reglado, individually and as next of friend of D.A.R., a minor, and Cecilia P. Alonso, all of Matamoros, along with Brownsville resident Sylvia Vela, filed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 against Fundacion Teleton USA, Sistema Infantial Teleton USA, Sabas Lopez Jr. doing business as SRS Advertising and DG Entertainment, and the City of Brownsville.

The injuries occurred at the beginning of the Bi-National 10K & 5k Run, which started on the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Brownsville campus and continued into Matamoros, when a metal scaffold with a start banner fell into the crowd. Reglado, the minor, Alonso and Vela are seeking $1 million or more in damages.

On Monday, Lopez, doing business as DG Entertainment, filed an answer to the lawsuit, denying that any defects existed in the construction and scope of the work.

"Defendant does not believe the allegations in this lawsuit are well founded; However, in the unlikely event that Defendant is found liable to Plaintiffs, then Defendant would show that any alleged damages to the Plaintiffs were caused by the acts and omissions of other parties," according to Lopez’s reply to the lawsuit.

Reglado, the minor, Alonso and Vela allege that DG Entertainment was instructed to install the trusses and signage that fell and struck the plaintiffs.

"DG Entertainment was not involved with the set up of the truss and/or signage made the basis of this suit," according to the reply.

In the lawsuit, Reglado, the minor, Alonso and Vela allege a city employee installed the trusses and signage that fell.

"Defendant would show that the events and occurrences in question and damages, if any, were caused by new, pre-existing, independent and intervening causes not related to the conduct, services of materials of Defendant, including Acts of Gods," the reply states.

Lopez also says in the court document that DG Entertainment provided materials and equipment of good quality and that the work formed was free from defects and conformed to the contract document.

"Defendant specifically denies that any of the work he performed was defective and/or negligent pursuant to the contract documents and/or any applicable standards of care," the reply states.

According to the lawsuit, Michael J. Blanchard, a San Antonio-based attorney representing the plaintiffs, argues that the City of Brownsville is liable because Reglado, the minor, Alonso and Vela’s injuries were caused by the trusses and signage that were allegedly set up in a manner that posed an unreasonable risk of which the city had actual knowledge.

"The City, moreover, only has immunity for its governmental acts," the lawsuit states. "The City’s joint sponsorship and hosting of the race event was not a governmental act."

The plaintiffs are accusing Teleton and Lopez of negligence and are seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain and mental anguish, physical impairment, lost earning capacity and exemplary damages.

The purposes of the Bi-National 10K & 5K Run is two-fold: to highlight the relationship between Brownsville and Matamoros and to raise money for the TeletonUSA Foundation, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that supports a rehabilitation institute for children with neurological and musculoskeletal disorders.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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