New Orleans Fairgrounds sued after patron falls on unmarked step

By Michelle Keahey | Jan 25, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Fairgrounds is being sued after a patron allegedly fell because he did not see a step.

Ronald F. Borne filed suit against Churchill Downs Louisiana Horseracing Co., Churchill Downs Inc. and Great Divide Insurance Co. on Nov. 19 in Orleans Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Jan. 2.

The alleged incident occurred on Nov. 26, 2011 as Borne was at the New Orleans Fairgrounds watching the second race from a raised concrete area in line with the finish line, where he could stand and watch the race. After watching the second and third races from that area, Borne decided to leave the Fairgrounds and as he was attempting to leave, he fell because of an unmarked step.

According to the lawsuit, the raised concrete area, the step down from the cement area and the lower area were all made of concrete and were painted the same color.

“There were no signs, no handrails, no delineated nosing areas, no visual cues, not tactile cues, no contrast in surface colors, nor markings or warnings of any kind that alerted Mr. Borne to the fact that there was this change in level,” the lawsuit states.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to keep its premises free from a defect which presented an unreasonable risk of harm to patrons, failing to warn guests and invitees of the defect, and for failing to correct or implement corrective measures to prevent injury from that defect.

The plaintiff is asking for an award of damages for medical expenses, physical suffering, loss of function, mental anguish, emotional distress, partial disability, special care and services and accommodations, loss of enjoyment of life, interest, and court costs.

Borne is represented by Thomas H. Huval of Huval Veazey Felder & Reneger LLC in Covington.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-00002

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