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Texas A&M officials can be sued in Bonfire case

The 10th Court of Appeals in Waco affirmed a district court ruling that allows for the case to go to trial in Brazos County court.

The Court ruled that Texas A&M administrators, acting in the course and scope of their jobs, can be sued individually for the events leading up to the 1999 collapse of the 59-foot-tall bonfire stack that killed 12 people and injured 27 others.


The Waco Court of Appeals has clearly stated that the Texas A&M administrators cannot hide behind the sovereign immunity doctrine.

In November 1999, stacks of more than 5,000 logs collapsed as students were building it. This was a 90-year-tradition for the university, and the bonfire was burned on the eve of Texas A&M’s game with University of Texas.

Injured people and their families sued the University, alleging that the A&M officials created a dangerous event and were indifferent to the students’ safety.

Legal Analysis: The King can do no wrong; Sovereign Immunity-time this doctrine was thrown out with the King who spawned it. Too often I have seen governmental agencies hide behind this doctrine; using it as a shield to deny liability for the most egregious acts of negligence, wrongful termination and employment discrimination. The governmental employees who commit these wrongful acts are deliberately indifferent to the claims of the plaintiffs, as are the attorneys who represent them.

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