Beaumont claims governmental immunity from suit over Christmas parade death

The city of Beaumont recently made a plea to the jurisdiction in litigation brought by the parents of Aaliyah Carter, who died during a 2008 Christmas parade. In November 2011, 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 its motion for leave to designate responsible third parties granted -- designating the city of Beaumont and the Beaumont Police Department as responsible third parties. On Jan. 20 the city filed its plea to the jurisdiction, asserting a claim of governmental immunity and that the plaintiffs have failed to establish jurisdiction. The plaintiffs argue the city was negligent in its planning and management of the event, court papers say. The city maintains no employees were aboard the float at the time of the incident and that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case or award punitive damage. In their suit, the Carters state that $3 million is needed to compensate them for their mental anguish and daughter's funeral expenses. Aaliyah, 11 years old at the time of the incident, was killed during the Beaumont Christmas parade on Dec. 6, 2008. She had been aboard a float sponsored by the Beaumont I-Rule Dance Studio – also a defendant in the case. Aaliyah jumped off the 21-foot lowboy trailer float and had been running along beside it when she tripped. The driver was unaware that she had fallen in the road and the wheels of the trailer ran over her, according to court papers. Houston attorney Michael Howard represents the Carters. 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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