The upper-deck railing at Turner Field should have been higher than 33 inches, the family of a man who fell to his death at an Atlanta Braves game last year claimed in court. In a wrongful-death suit filed in Fulton County, Georgia against the Braves and Major League Baseball, the family of Greg Murrey says his death could easily have been prevented if Turner Field had guardrails at least 42 inches high.
“The Braves and MLB knew that spectators at baseball games get up during the course of a game — both spontaneously to react to events at the stadium and in response to prompting by an announcer,” the complaint states.
The Braves are building a new stadium slated to open in 2017. According to the complaint, the Braves and MLB are relying on a 1920s-era building code that allows guardrails to be 26 inches high if the fans are seated. Murrey’s family argues a 26-inch minimum isn’t enough to protect fans in any ballpark.
Two other fans have fallen to their death at Turner Field in the last decade, and fatal falls have occurred in other stadiums.
Most notably, Shannon Stone, the father of a 6 year-old, fell to his death at a Texas Rangers game when he leaned over the guardrail to catch a ball from Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton in 2011. The Rangers raised their guardrail to 42 inches in wake of the tragedy.
“Had the rest of MLB uniformly increased railing heights after Mr. Stone’s death, Greg would not have died,” the complaint says. “Another inexpensive safety precaution, protective netting, would also have easily prevented Greg’s death. Instead, the Braves continue to incorporate dangerously low railings, placing its fans at grave risk of death or catastrophic injury.”