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Staples Center Blamed for Toddler’s Death

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Parents say their 2-year-old toddler died in a 30-foot fall at a Lakers game because of the poor design of the Staples Center's luxury boxes. They say the open front of the box contains a barrier no more than 26 inches high, over which their son fell in their presence.

Henry Tang and Hoai Mi Nguyen say their son Lucas Tang fell from a luxury box on Nov. 21, 2010 because "the Staples Center sacrifices the safety of users of the luxury boxes and places them in the position of risk of bodily harm or death."

They sued Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center, and L.A. Arena Company, which operates the arena, in Superior Court. (The complaint misspells Anschutz as Anschultz.)

The family claims that many of the luxury boxes "are constructed so that it is open at the front of the box to allow enhanced viewing of the event," and that there is "nothing at the front of the luxury box other than a small, undersized barrier ('pony wall')."

On the other side of the pony wall is a drop of 30 to 50 feet to ground level. The base of the pony wall is a solid block 13 to 16 inches high, and above it is a plexiglass barrier 8 to 10 inches high, giving the pony wall a total height of "no more than 26 inches," the parents say.

The parents, who were there when their son fell, say that at no time were they "warned by signage, by Staples Center employees, or otherwise, of dangers that might arise while occupying the box."

They seeking damages, medical costs and funeral expenses for wrongful death and negligence, and an injunction to cure "the dangerous conditions of the Staples Center luxury boxes."

They are represented by Scott Wellman and Stuart Miller with Wellman & Warren in Laguna Hills.

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