The family of Gregory Murrey, the man who fell to his death over a guard rail on an upper deck at a baseball game, is now suing the Braves and the Major League Baseball (MLB) Association. Mr. Murrey was a major Braves fan for all of his life, and he visited Turner Field to watch his favorite team play against the Yankees back in August of last year. However, he stood up at one point in the game, tripped, and plummeted over 50 feet. Sport Act News shares the details on this sports-related lawsuit this April 21, 2016.
For many decades now, people have loved going out to the baseball field for a fun day with friends and family and to see a good game. Sadly, for Greg Murrey and his family, one such day in August turned into tragedy instead. The Braves fan was in his seat in the 401 Section, second row, when he fell over a guard rail and died. According to the lawsuit filed against the Atlanta National League Baseball Club, the rail itself hardly “reached the height of Greg’s ankles.” It measured in at “30 inches above the first row,” noted the press release.
The complaint also stated that Gregory Murrey lost his balance, and had there been a proper protective banister in place to stop him from falling, the Braves fan might not have lost his life. The victim’s late wife, Laura Hale Murrey, decided to file the lawsuit in the memory of her husband and for his estate and their children together. The news source shared that the family firmly hopes his unfortunate passing may mark him as “the last fan to needlessly die or suffer catastrophic injuries as the result of low railing heights at a sports stadium.”
According to Yahoo Sports News, the lawsuit was formally filed by Mrs. Murrey this Tuesday in a Fulton County State Court. Many sports arena bannisters, including those used in fan seating sections at MLB fields (such as Turner Field) are noticeably lower than many guard rails present in major businesses or homes. This inconsistency is reportedly a result of the past owners taking advantage of governmental safety standards put into place for symphony halls and indoor opera houses of the late 1800s that required putting lower bannisters in place.
Instead of having these rails at the necessary 42 inches (three and a half feet)under code for more contemporary businesses, the rails used in these opera houses and theaters only necessitated 30 inches. They were designed so no seated guests would have their vision impaired at the show. This 30 inches minimum requirement was also carried into many baseball stadiums in the early 1900s. However, in today’s times, the complaint argues that such a standard is no longer acceptable.
With all of the steep seating arrangements, drinking, cheering, and festivities that happen in the baseball field stands, it is posited that higher guard rails are in order. “Generally, patrons at the theater do not have beer vendors hawking large beers during plays or operas,” the complaint stated. It is hoped that moving up to 42 inches, or roughly a man’s waist, might help prevent people from falling and dying or being injured at a game.
At this time in the Gregory Murrey case, the Braves’ baseball team PR representative has not commented on the formal complaint. The lawsuit also makes mention of other tragic cases of fan deaths throughout the U.S. in which sports fans died or were seriously hurt from a fall. The cost of raising a hand rail in their stadium implemented by the Texas Rangers cost less than $1.2 million, which was described as a relatively “miniscule” financial cost for the benefit of potentially saving fans’ lives in the stands in the baseball economy, which is a multi-billion dollar industry. Do you believe there is merit to this lawsuit?