The family of a woman who died three months after being injured in a fall from her wheelchair outside a venue where America’s Got Talent was being taped is suing the show and NBCUniversal for wrongful death.
In a 20-page complaint filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), the estate of Maureen Allen says her fall at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in March 2017 “required multiple hospitalizations and operations” and “was a substantial factor in causing her death.” AGT producer FremantleMedia North America and the City of Pasadena also are named as defendants.
The suit says Allen and her husband were volunteering at a county-sponsored science and engineering fair when she tried to enter the venue. It says they “discovered that all disabled access points to the Auditorium appeared to be blocked off. They were advised that the NBC television show America’s Got Talent was filming on the premises beginning the next day or soon thereafter, and the television show’s trailers and equipment were blocking all handicap access points to the building except for one. … However, in order to gain access to [that ramp], individuals with disabilities were forced to navigate and maneuver over a large power cord protector that obstructed the only available path of travel.”
It says Allen fell and “while attempting to maneuver her wheelchair over [the] obstruction” and was “violenmtly thrown off her scooter onto the hard pavement” and sustained head and arm injuries and a broken hip. The suit says she developed a blood clot and had a stroke the next day. Allen “was forced to undergo no less than 8 different procedures as a result of the injuries” but declined to the point of being put on life support and died on June 25.
FremantleMedia had no comment when contacted by Deadline, and an NBCUniversal spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on legal matters.
Attorneys Brian Panish, Thomas Schultz and John Shaller of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP in Los Angeles are representing the Allen estate in the lawsuit, which also alleges violation of the California Disabled Persons Act and infliction of emotional distress.