Testimony Begins in Stadium Ice Falling Lawsuit

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014  |  Updated 6:47 PM CDT
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Opening arguments began Tuesday for the civil lawsuit of a man who says he was severely injured when a huge piece of ice hit him while he was working at Cowboys Stadium.

Josh Ault, NBC 5

Opening arguments began Tuesday for the civil lawsuit of a man who says he was severely injured when a huge piece of ice hit him while he was working at Cowboys Stadium.

Testimony began Tuesday for the civil lawsuit of a man who says he was severely injured when a huge piece of ice hit him while he was working at Cowboys Stadium.

Severin Sampson, who was working as a stage hand for the Super Bowl, is suing five total defendants: the Dallas Cowboys football team, the National Football League, architect firm HKS who designed the stadium, and contractors SAFE and Populous.

Following jury selection on Monday, both sides in the case gave their opening statements Tuesday and testimony began.

Sampson’s attorney, Brian Butcher, explained the injures his client had suffered, including a fractured skull and permanent hearing damage. Butcher said Sampson has a constant ringing in his ear that sounds like a weed eater.

"He has a monster inside his head," Butcher said. He also claimed Sampson has lost wages due to his hearing loss.

Butcher also told the jury that what happened to Sampson could had been avoided if the appropriate measures had been taken by the operators of the stadium and the NFL. He said operators of the stadium knew two hours before Sampson was hurt that ice had been falling off the roof.

The defense came back in their opening statement to say that the ice falling off Cowboy’s stadium was an act of God, and there was no way they would have known this could have happened.

"This was an exceptional weather event and the defendants responded appropriately," defense lawyer Levi McCathern said.

They also said several measures were put into place to protect workers at the stadium as soon as they knew ice was falling, including warning workers to not use the stadium exits.

Attorney Hollye Fisk for HKS says stadium was designed to acceptable standards and falling ice was never anticipated in this area before.

Sampson’s attorney says they are seeking millions of dollars for the pain his client has gone through. He would not give an exact amount in his opening statement, but told the jury it would be up to them to decide that amount.

Several witnesses took the stand Tuesday. The entire proceeding is expected to last several weeks.

NBC 5 Reporters Josh Ault and Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

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