January civil trial of 2008 Christmas parade death pushed back until October

David Yates Jan. 4, 2012, 5:57am

A civil trial in litigation brought by the parents of Aaliyah Carter, who died during a 2008 Christmas parade in Beaumont, has been pushed back from January to October.

Last November, Albert and Stephanie Carter filed suit against the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that on Nov. 2 the Chamber had is motion for leave to designate responsible third parties granted -- designating the city of Beaumont and the Beaumont Police Department as responsible third parties.

A month earlier, the Chamber also successfully designated John Neves, doing business as Astro Autos, and Charlee and Mark Rule, owners of I Rule Dance, as responsible third parties.

Court records show that an amended discovery control plan order was filed on Dec. 8, slating the case for an October trial.

Aaliyah, 11 years old at the time of the incident, was killed during a Beaumont Christmas parade on Dec. 6, 2008. She had been aboard a float sponsored by the Beaumont I-Rule Dance Studio.

The Chamber asserts I-Rule was responsible for the safety of the dance studio students aboard the float and that Neves was driver of the vehicle pulling the float, court papers say.

According to the Beaumont Enterprise, witnesses told Beaumont police that Aaliyah jumped off the 21-foot lowboy trailer float and had been running along beside it when she tripped over another young girl and fell.

The driver was unaware that she had fallen in the road and the wheels of the trailer ran over her, causing severe head trauma. Aaliyah was taken to Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth, where she was pronounced dead, the article states.

The Carters state in their lawsuit that $3 million is needed to compensate them for their mental anguish and daughter's funeral expenses.

On Dec. 22 the city of Beaumont filed an answer, claiming that it has sovereign immunity, court records show.

Houston attorney Michael Howard represents the Carters.

Houston attorney Tracey Burridge represents the Beaumont Chamber.
Frist Assistant City Attorney Quentin Price represents the city.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, is presiding over the case.

The Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce is an accredited member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Southeast Texas Record is owned by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber. The Record has no direct affiliation with the Beaumont Chamber.

Case No. A188-767

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