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City responds to race lawsuit

February 5, 2019

All of the defendants sued by four people injured by a falling scaffold during a bi-national race last March have responded in court documents, denying allegations of negligence.

Daniel Regaldo, 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.

Their injuries occurred at the start 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.

The City of Brownsville, which generally denies all of the allegations, said in its response that any injuries sustained in the accident were not its fault.

"Defendant City of Brownsville would further assert that any loss or damages allegedly sustained by Plaintiffs at the time, place, and occasion mentioned in Plaintiffs’ Original Petition were caused in whole by the intentional conduct of Plaintiffs, and not by any negligence or fault or want of care on the part of Defendant City of Brownsville," attorneys representing the city said in the document.

Sistema Infantial Teleton USA also denied all of the allegations levied against it.

"On the occasion in question, Plaintiffs engaged in activities which constituted negligence or alternatively fault or responsibility for the subject incident. Such activities were the proximate cause of the incident made the basis of this action and any asserted damages," Sistema Infantial Teleton USA said in its response.

Fundacion Teleton USA generally denied all allegations as well.

"Defendant would show that the accident in question—and Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries and damages, if any—were the result of acts and/or omissions of others beyond Defendant’s control, who acts or omissions were a proximate cause or a producing cause or the sole proximate cause or the sole producing cause of the accident in question and Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries and damages, if any," Fundacion Teleton USA said in its response.

Lopez, who was the first defendant to respond to the lawsuit, said in court documents that the allegations are not well-founded and that any damages Reglado, the minor, Alonso and Vela received are the result of the other parties to the lawsuit.

"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 God," Lopez said in his reply.

The lawsuit against the parties argues that Teleton and Lopez were negligent and seeks damages for medical expenses, physical pain and mental anguish, physical impairment, lost earning capacity and exemplary damages.

The lawsuit also claims 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 purposes of the Bi-National 10K & 5K Run is 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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