Broward resident Jean Michel Michaud has two fewer toes than he did on Sept. 23, when he arrived at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens to watch the Miami Dolphins play the Oakland Raiders. That day, a “large, heavy stone slab” fell on his foot, according to a federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida.
Michaud had been waiting for a drink at LIV, a private bar within the stadium, when the 500-pound slab ”suddenly disconnected from the bar,” partially amputating two of his toes, according to the complaint, which accuses Miami Dolphins Ltd. and venue operator South Florida Stadium LLC of negligence.
“The countertop portion of the bar simply disconnected from the structure,” said Michaud’s lawyer, Danielle A. Cohen of Cohen Law in Coral Gables.
According to Cohen, the slab was so heavy that it later took three men to carry it away.
Michaud alleged in the complaint that “despite repeated requests” while in “agonizing pain,” the defendants left him “on display” in front of onlookers for almost an hour before he was taken to have emergency surgery.
“Instead, they sent over a representative to obtain a statement that we have not seen yet and my client represented that he did not sign,” said Cohen, who presumes the statement included Michaud’s address as he received a fruit basket and a note from the company a few days later.
“What? A basket of pears? My client didn’t much appreciate that,” Cohen said.
The Miami Dolphins declined to comment and would not confirm whether it has retained counsel for the case, but Myles Pistorius serves as general counsel to the company. Pistorius did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the full complaint:
The way Cohen sees it, the stadium’s on-site medical professionals should have been quicker to assist Michaud.
“He feels terribly about being showcased and just kind of sitting in the middle of a crowd with blood coming out of his shoe, his sneaker and his sock for close to an hour before receiving any kind of attention,” Cohen said. ”We don’t know why they took so long but it just added insult to injury.”
Cohen said she has “no idea” why the slab fell but suspects ”it was installed and constructed poorly.”
Cohen said she’s awaiting video footage of the accident and noted that “it’s too early” to place a dollar amount on damages, as it’s unclear what the lasting effects of his injuries will be.
Michaud can’t drive or walk, and has had to take time off from his sales job at Norwegian Cruise Line, according to Cohen.
In Cohen’s view, this case highlights an important issue for Miami-Dade County, a place where “construction is commonplace.”
“We’ve seen these repeat instances recently, unfortunately, of construction being shoddy, and people are getting injured,” she said. “If they’re going to benefit financially from packing their stadium with thousands of people, then my client is incredibly interested in making sure that they’re doing everything up to code, and that they’re not filling up that stadium if construction is questionable.”
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