The widow of a beer tap inventor who died inside a walk-in beer cooler at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the ballclub.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Angela Keeling filed the lawsuit on Friday in Fulton County State Court. She is seeking unspecified damages in the death of her husband, Marvin Todd Keeling, who was found dead on June 26, 2018, inside a walk-in beer cooler where he was installing beer taps.
An autopsy said Keeling had injuries to his head and died from carbon dioxide poisoning.
What the lawsuit alleges
Keeling’s lawsuit says a faulty door mechanism and lethal carbon dioxide leaks were the primary causes of her husband’s death.
Her lawyers contend the Braves were aware of both issues but made no effort to correct them.
According to the lawsuit, Keeling was finalizing the installation of the tap system when the cooler filled with carbon dioxide. The autopsy report said Keeling’s “fall/collapse was very rapid or that he was so disoriented that he was unable to form or act on logical thought processes.”
Keeling’s lawyers contend the 48-year-old inventor had no way to get out of the cooler because of a “faulty door release mechanism that was improperly constructed, assembled, maintained and allowed to exist” despite knowledge of its status.
In addition to the Braves, the lawsuit also names several construction and beverage service companies who were involved in setting up the coolers before the stadium’s opening on March 31, 2017.
The lawsuit cites an email that was sent to the Braves prior to Todd Keeling’s death. The email detailed issues with door release mechanisms in coolers throughout the stadium, and warned of the potential dangers.
An ESPN report provided further details on this aspect of the lawsuit.
A partnership of the stadium's builders, based in Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota and Michigan, "received an email before Todd Keeling's death that there were issues with the door release mechanisms in coolers throughout the stadium,'' the lawsuit states.
The construction companies involved also knew about carbon dioxide leaks in the coolers, but allowed them to go unfixed; and Cooler 331, where Todd Keeling died, lacked a functioning carbon dioxide monitor or alarm, the lawsuit states.
Have the Braves responded?
Team spokeswoman Beth Marshall said the club won't release a formal statement “due to ongoing litigation.”
The defendants reportedly have 30 days to respond to the suit.
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