Family of man who fell to his death at Mile High sues stadium district

A year ago, a man fell down some stairs at the Broncos' stadium and died - now, his wife is suing the owners of the stadium: the taxpayers.

DENVER - The family of a man who fell to his death at Mile High Stadium last year during a Denver Broncos game has filed a lawsuit naming several defendants, including food and beverage vendors at the game that night. 

Jason Coy, from Miliken, went over a handrail on Oct. 24, 2016 and fell about 60 feet inside the Northeast concourse. The suit claims Coy suffered blunt force injuries to his head, skull, neck and torso.

RELATED: Fan dies after fall at Broncos game

The 36-year-old's family named Metropolitan Football Stadium District, PDB Enterprises, PDB Sports, Bowlen Sports and Stadium Management Company as defendants in the wrongful death civil suit.

"The stadium contained a defective, unsafe, non-obvious and dangerous condition in a fire escape corridor and staircase on which [Coy] fell to his death," the suit reads. 

Coy's family alleges in the suit that the defendants "breached their duty of care" by "failing to take reasonable affirmative action or measures" to make the fire escape safe.

"If it can be shown that the stadium should have designed those stair steps in a different way to more safely protect patrons, then there's a possibility for recovery in the wrongful death suit. The problem is that so many people have used those same stairs without a problem in the past," said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson.

Denver's office of Community Planning and Development said that the stairs at Mile High, or any other existing building, would have had to meet the code that was in effect at the time they were built. The staircase where Coy fell would have had to pass structural, architectural and fire review based on building and fire codes prior to its opening in 2001.

"If the stairway complied with all applicable codes, it will be very, very difficult for this wrongful death suit to be successful," said Robinson.

Also named are John Does 1-3.

John Doe #1 is listed as an unidentified food vendor at the stadium. John Doe #2 is an unidentified person or entity acting as a beverage concessionaire or vendor who served stadium patrons. John Doe #3 is an unidentified person or entity who was responsible for security and safety of patrons.

"It remains to be seen the reason why there were three John Doe concessionaires also named because there's no claim that the decedent was intoxicated," said Robinson.

According to Coy's autopsy, his blood alcohol content level was .171. The state's legal limit for being considered "driving under the influence" is .08.

"Colorado does not recognize a lawsuit that represents you suing a bar because they over-served you. Only if an individual gets drunk and goes and hurt somebody else, can a suit be brought against the tavern, liquor store or in this case, stadium," said Robinson.

All the defendants, according to the suit, constitute "landowners" under the Colorado Premises Liability Act. 

The suit was filed in Denver District Court on Tuesday -- one year after the father of five fell to his death from fire-escape stairs.

The named plaintiff in the lawsuit is Leslie Coy, Jason's widow, and their five children, who are only identified by their initials.

Coy's family is seeking his lost income, medial expenses and lawyer fees. A specific amount of money was not listed.

According to Robinson, the maximum liability by the Metropolitan Football Stadium District is $150,000 because it is a quasi-governmental agency. There is no maximum for the others named in the lawsuit.

In June, the family sent a letter to Stadium District with their intentions to sue.

Marshall Zelinger is an investigative reporter for Next with Kyle Clark. Have a story tip? You can reach him at marshall@9news.com or 303.349.0784.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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