OSU Named in Lawsuit After Fall at Boone Pickens Stadium

A Tulsa man has filed a negligence lawsuit against Oklahoma State University after his wife died of injuries sustained in a fall at Boone Pickens Stadium. Ronald Mayfield is seeking $75,000 in damages for the death of his wife, Charlotte, who fell backward down stadium stairs during the Class 3A state football championship game in December.  The Mayfields were attending the game between Cascia Hall and Anadarko to watch their grandson, a fullback for Cascia Hall.  Charlotte Mayfield fell during the first quarter of the game and was transported with serious head trauma to a local hospital by ambulance.  She was then flown to St. Francis hospital in Tulsa, where she died the next day. According to the lawsuit, Ronald Mayfield alleges that OSU demonstrated negligence in maintaining a safe environment for guests at the stadium.  The lawsuit claims the following aspects of the stadium to be contributing factors in Mayfield's wife's death:

  • Graduated size of stadium steps
  • Lack of handrails
  • Uniform color of steps, making visual distinction between steps difficult
Any public or private facility must take certain measures to protect visitors and guests from unnecessary risk of harm.  Failing to take adequate safety precautions can be a liability if someone is injured or killed as a result.  In a premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff alleges that the defendant neglected to construct or maintain a safe environment. Fall accidents are among the most common premises liability accidents, often for reasons similar to those mentioned in the OSU lawsuit.  Causes of falls include:
  • Broken or missing handrails
  • Broken stairs
  • Uneven walkways
  • Impediments to the walking surface
  • Wet or slick surfaces
  • Hazards or obstructions, including rugs
  • Inadequate lighting
  • and more.
As evidenced in the Mayfield suit, fall injuries can be significant, even catastrophic or fatal.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury, causing more than twice as many such injuries as automobile accidents.  Falls cause half of all TBIs sustained by children and sixty-one percent of all TBIs sustained by adults aged 65 and older.  Most of these falls, and therefore injuries, are preventable with due caution.