Four injured in bi-national race sue
Three Matamoros residents and a Brownsville resident are suing the City of Brownsville and the organizers of a binational race in March where a metal scaffold with a start banner fell into the crowd without warning for $1 million or more in damages.
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 accident happened at the beginning of the Bi-National 10K & 5K Run, which started on the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus, when the metal structure fell striking multiple people.
According to the lawsuit, SRS Advertising and DG Entertainment was instructed to install the trusses and signage that fell and struck the plaintiffs.
Michael J. Blanchard, a San Antonio-based attorney who filed the lawsuit, argues in the litigation 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."
According to the lawsuit, a city employee installed the trusses and signage that fell.
"While acting within the scope of his or her employment, a City employee used the truss and signage to conduct the race event at issue in this lawsuit," the litigation states. "The use was negligent in that the use caused the trusses and signage to fall, prxoimately causing injuries and damages to Plaintiffs."
Reglado, the minor, Alonso and Vela further allege that Teleton and the City breached their duties by selecting "an incompetent person to install."
The lawsuit also accuses Teleton and Lopez of negligence.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain and mental anguish, physical impairment, lost earning capacity and exemplary damages.
The purpose of the Bi-National 10K & 5K Run is two-fold: to highlight the relationship between Brownsville and Matamoros and to raise funds for the TeletonUSA Foundation, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that supports a rehabilitation institute for children with neurological and musculoskeletal disorders.
Participants in the race began at the university and made their way to Gateway International Bridge where some stopped and others continued into Matamoros and back.