The Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce recently had its motion for leave to designate third parties granted in a suit brought by the parents of Aaliyah Carter, who died during a 2008 Christmas parade.

Last November, the Southeast Texas Record reported that Albert and Stephanie Carter filed suit against the Beaumont Chamber in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that on June 1 the Beaumont Chamber filed a motion for leave to designate responsible third parties, arguing that the incident was caused by the negligence of John Neves, doing business as Astro Autos, and Charlee and Mark Rule, owners of I Rule Dance.

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 motion 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.

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 plaintiffs filed an objection to the motion on July 28, stating that the Chamber had not complied with local rule 2(E) prior to the filing of the motion, court records show.

Nonetheless, Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, granted the motion on Sept. 7, designating Neves and the Rules as responsible third parties.

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

Houston attorney Michael Howard represents the Carters.

Houston attorney Tracey Burridge represents the Beaumont Chamber.

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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