Family of toddler who fell to his death at LA Lakers game sues Staples Center

Posted on Jun 16, 2011

Child California Wrongful Death Lawsuit (legal action):  According to the Southern California newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, a child injury lawsuit alleging unsafe conditions at the Los Angeles Staples Center was filed Tuesday, May 24, 2011 on behalf of the family of 2-year-old Lucas Tang, who fell to his death from a skybox during a Lakers game in November 2010.

The injury lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges wrongful death and negligence (a violation of the standard of due care owed to the toddler), saying Anschutz Entertainment Group and L.A. Arena Co. did not properly warn LA Lakers’ fans about the "dangerous" design of the luxury boxes located inside Staples Center. It seeks an unspecified (dollar amount – according to proof) damages, as well as an injunction that would require the installation of taller barriers in front of the boxes.

An injunction is a court order telling another party or entity to “do something.”  Here, to make the boxes “more safe.”  Here is a quote from the LA Times taken from the plaintiff lawyer for the dead toddler:

“Beyond providing some measure of compensation to the grieving family, the purpose of this lawsuit is to compel Staples Center to prevent similar accidents from happening again, even if installing basic safety features reduces the maximum price it can charge for tickets,” plaintiffs attorney Scott Wellman said.

Toddler Tang fell from a third-level luxury box, dropping 30 to 50 feet, minutes after the conclusion of the Lakers' game against Golden State on Nov. 20, 2011, and as a direct result, he suffered massive head injuries and, sadly, died at a local hospital.

Although an autopsy determined the death was a complete accident, the lawsuit contends that “in order to obtain the highest price possible for use of the luxury boxes, the Staples Center designed and maintains the luxury boxes in a dangerous condition.” This is what is alleged in the child death lawsuit filed by the plaintiff law firm. Thus, this lawsuit is considered a negligent action seeking pain and suffering damages – also known as a child wrongful death lawsuit. Damages in these types of cases, as opposed to adult wrongful death actions, can be difficult to prove at times.

Wellman said of the defendants: "They are trading dollars for safety." But with a safety barrier consisting of 16-inch-high concrete topped with glass starting at 10 inches high, Staples Center is in compliance with codes requiring guardrails to be at least 26 inches high, city officials say.

Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG (one of the defendants in the underlying legal action), did not comment because he said he hadn't seen the lawsuit when asked to comment.  I wish the family well and would like to express my sincere condolences to them in light of everything that has happened to little Tang.

Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Child Injury/Accident Attorney and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Office dedicated to representing families of minor children injured due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one, who is a minor child, has been injured or killed in a child accident in San Diego, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95.  However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident. Also, you can check out Mr. Blane's book on California child injuries called Justice for the Injured Child available for sale; this book has become a California parent's legal survival guide to their child's California accident case.

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