Texas ironworker’s family wins $19 million wrongful death verdict over Baylor football stadium construction accident

by Jim Orr

The family of a Texas ironworker who died in 2014 during the construction of a new football stadium at Baylor University in Waco has been awarded $19 million in damages in their wrongful death lawsuit against a subcontractor on the building project. The family of Luis Suarez had filed a lawsuit against Austin Bridge and Road, as well as five other corporate defendants who were not held liable in the verdict.

According to the lawsuit, Suarez was killed when a boom lift onto which he was strapped fell from a pedestrian bridge that was under construction over the Brazos River. The bridge was being built as part of construction on the new football stadium at Baylor.

Lawyers for the Suarez family argued that Austin Bridge and Road was in such a hurry to finish construction work that it sacrificed the safety of its employees in the name of speed. Although the family’s lawsuit was initially filed against five other companies, lawyers asked the judge overseeing the case to place 100% liability for Suarez’s death on Austin Bridge after an expert witness hired by the company flipped his testimony and said that the company had not acted reasonably.

Following the jury’s verdict in favor of Suarez’s family, Austin Bride filed a motion to set aside the verdict on the grounds that Baylor had purchased an owner controlled insurance program (OCIP) prior to Suarez’s death. Because Austin Bride had participated in this program, the company argued that it was immune from liability in the worker’s death. This motion was rejected by the court.

Following the trial in April 2016, Texas 151st District Judge Mike Engelhart in Houston issued a final order that awarded $19 million in damages for wrongful death to the Suarez family. The award included $2 million in punitive damages.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed by the Attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson

If a member of your family or another loved one has been the victim of wrongful death in a construction accident or because of other causes due to the negligence of an employer or other third party, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for their negligent actions. The first step in taking legal action is to talk with an attorney about your case with the experience in handling personal injury and wrongful death cases to handle your claim from start to finish.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have tried hundreds of cases to verdict on behalf of our clients and have settled hundreds more. Our lawyers have achieved verdicts and settlements totaling more than $200 million. Unlike many firms who settle cases to avoid taking them to trial, our firm has tried numerous construction accident lawsuits and other personal injury cases to a jury verdict.

In many instances, our firm has invested thousands of its own money in order to take a case to trial on behalf of our clients. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to achieving justice on behalf of our clients, whatever the cost.

For more information about filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. To talk with an attorney about your case, please call us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following this link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions to get started.

by Jim Orr

Jim Orr is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P focusing on business and personal injury litigation. Jim was selected multiple times to the Super Lawyers List and has tried 70+ cases to verdict.