Six months after AEG Live was found “not liable” in the Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit, another AEG subsidiary, which owns and operates the Staples arena in downtown Los Angeles, faces a legal showdown over a fatal accident there.
In a blistering reversal of earlier lower court rulings, a California appeals panel has ordered LA Arena Company to answer charges of negligence and unlawful business practices in the death of toddler Lucas Tang, who fell out skybox at Staples four years ago.
Alleged deficiencies in the front-row safety barriers, including their low height, figured in the family’s appeal.
“The company always knew that the barriers were constructed in a dangerous way,” Scott Wellman, an attorney for the Tang family said. “Their own witnesses testified that people would stand or sit on them. And still no one at Staples did anything to make them safer.”
In her first public interview, the victim’s mother, Hoai Mi Nguyen, expressed hope that the case might have the positive result of forcing changes in safety procedures at public venues everywhere. “The past has happened and there’s nothing we can do to bring Lucas back,” she said. “If this case is what it takes to prevent [similar accidents], I don’t want this to happen again to anyone else.”
Neither AEG’s spokesperson nor LA Arena’s attorneys responded to requests for comment.