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Bonfire Pre-Trial Hearing

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

The trial of more than 60 defendants named in a law suit for the 1999 Bonfire Collapse is only five months away.

And lawyers were in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing.

Defense attorneys asked Judge Steve Smith to give ten Red Pots immunity from being sued.

They contend the students were volunteers and are protected under state law.

The motion was denied.

The plaintiff’s attorneys say students don't qualify as volunteers.

Judge Smith denied the motion because some of the facts in the case are disputed.

In depositions, University officials have testified that Bonfire is not an event the university controls.

Students however testified it is sanctioned by the university.

Plaintiff’s attorneys also said many of the Red Pots were grossly negligent because the 55-foot height restriction of Bonfire was not followed.

At the time of collapse the stack was 59 feet and would reach more than 70 feet if it were completed.

However, a number of students named in the civil suit were dropped.

The hearing is one of many that have been held over the past year and a half.

Victims and their families are suing Texas A&M officials, students in charge of Bonfire and several corporations for wrongful death.

That trial will begin March 21 in Bryan.


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