WASHINGTON — Four football fans that were injured after a railing collapsed at FedEx Field are suing the Washington Commanders. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland on Sept. 9, 2022. The court documents, obtained by WUSA9, state the Plaintiffs are demanding a reward of an "excess of $75,000 per Plaintiff" for "loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering.
The other defendants in the suit filed are Washington Football Stadium Inc. (WFI) previously known as JKC Stadium, Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC), and the Company Does. WFI is the owner of the FedEx field located at 1600 FedEx Way in Landover, Maryland.
According to court documents, the Plaintiffs traveled from New Jersey on Jan. 2, 2022, to FedEx Field for the Washington Commanders vs. Philadelphia Eagles football game. As the game came to an end, the Plaintiffs gained permission from CSC's employees to go to the tunnel where the Philadelphia Eagles team would go through to enter the locker room, court documents read.
CSC employees/agents guided the Plaintiffs to a railing adjacent to the tunnel where Philadelphia Eagles player Jalen Hurts and other players were departing the field to enter the visitor's locker room.
Court documents suggest that the defendants did not advise the Plaintiffs that there was a danger of leaning against the rail. Furthermore, the court documents also claim there was not any signage of possible danger when leaning against the railing.
According to the lawsuit, all defendants "knew, or should have known, of the likelihood that fans would reach over and lean up against the railing which separated the fans in the stands from the players down below" and "that extreme pressure (from the weight of leaning fans) would be placed on the railings"
The Washington Commanders have not responded to WUSA9's request for comment on the matter.
The Plaintiffs in the suit include New Jersey residents Michael Naimoli, Andrew Collins, Morgan French and Marissa Santarlasci. According to the lawsuit, the group suffered various injuries including, cervical strains, muscle strains, bone contusions, cuts, bruises, headaches, and other potential long-term effects, both physical and emotional, from their falls.
The lawsuit also states the Washington Commanders and WFI, were required by NFL Rules and Regulations to maintain minimum standards regarding the football fan experience at each stadium.
Court documents allege that following the incident "no examination of Plaintiff's injuries was undertaken on the scene, and no information, whatsoever, including their names, addresses, or contact information was ever requested by any of the Defendants." Additionally, the court documents claim that a report was not "made or taken by any Defendants while the Plaintiffs were still on the scene of their fall."
Following the fall, Plaintiffs were directed to back over the wall and were told by CSC staff to "get the f**k out of the stadium," according to court documents.
The lawsuit further states "Plaintiffs have been emotionally impacted by the event described herein, such that each of them relives in their mind, the fall which occurred, the bodies landing one on top of the other on the concrete below, and observing the pain that they, their friends, and other fans, including at least one child, suffered as a result of the railing failure, causing the fall of all of the Plaintiffs."
The Washington Commanders, WFI and CSC are being sued for negligence/gross negligence. The companies that do the maintenance and subcontracting of the stadium property are also being sued for negligence/gross negligence, according to court documents.
The incident happened following the Washington Football Team's 20-16 loss to the Eagles. A railing along the north tunnel at FedEx Field collapsed, sending multiple fans toppling to the ground. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, was heading into the locker room after completing on-field interviews when the fans almost fell on him.
The Commanders, then Washington Football Team released this statement later that evening after the incident. “The Washington Football Team is aware of an incident in the North Field Tunnel following today’s game,” the team said in a statement. “To our knowledge, everyone involved was offered onsite medical evaluation and left the stadium of their own accord. We’re very glad no one appears to have been seriously injured. The safety of our fans and guests is of the utmost importance and we are looking into what occurred.”
No court date has been filed yet.