Following a football game at Pro Player Stadium between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, an out-of-control escalator at Pro Player Stadium sent approximately 200 football fans on a terrifying plunge, injuring nearly 30 people and drawing several lawsuits against the stadium, its staffing company, and the escalator manufacturer.
After a two-week trial in Miami circuit court, a six-person jury found that the escalator manufacturer was 90% liable, and that Pro Player Stadium was 10% liable.
Attorney William E. Johnson claimed that the escalator manufacturer improperly marketed the escalator as being able to hold two people on each step, but in reality, the brakes were only designed to hold one person per step. The plaintiffs also argued that the Stadium was liable because it put up signs allowing two people on each escalator step without determining if the escalator could handle the load or not. Johnson said witnesses described the Pro Player escalator’s fall as a “roller coaster”. He said one witness saw a woman toss a child from the moving escalator, and people were seen jumping from the side of it to avoid the pile up.
With opening day for Florida Marlins baseball fast approaching at Pro Player Stadium, Johnson warned that something must be done to either limit the number of people on the escalators or install stronger brakes. “The scary thing is that the experts at trial said that if you get the same scenario again, it will happen again”, Johnson said. “What they need to do is put a person on every other step. If they don’t and this happens again, they are looking at punitive damages”.