Texas A&M University has agreed to pay $2.1 million to settle a lawsuit resulting from the 1999 bonfire collapse that killed 12 people and injured 27.
The families of four students who died and three who were hurt had sued the university, school officials and construction contractors hired to help build the 59-foot-high stack of logs.
The settlement agreement, filed in state District Court in Brazos County, resolves all remaining claims against current and former A&M employees. Claims against the contractors are pending, and the university is a third-party defendant in those matters.
An A&M spokesman, said the university was not part of previous settlements. Plaintiffs reached a settlement totaling about $6 million in 2004 against student bonfire leaders known as “red pots” for their painted hard hats. Those claims were paid through the homeowner’s insurance policies of the parents of the red pots.
The settlement comes after a state appeals court ruled in May that A&M administrators were not immune from lawsuits. The administrators had argued that they were shielded by sovereign immunity, a doctrine that bars suits against government agencies and officials. But the 10th Court of Appeals in Waco said the defendants were being sued as individuals.
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Legal Analysis: Dangerous ritual that turned deadly with tragic consequences.