Court Overturns Local Bonfire Decision, Rules in A&M's Favor

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An appeals court ruling means more good news for Texas A&M concerning the tragic 1999 bonfire collapse.

In an opinion filed Wednesday, the Tenth Court of Appeals in Waco reversed the 361st District Court's ruling, which said claims could be filed against Texas A&M over the incident that killed 12 and injured 27.

The Appeals Court ruled the university is, in fact, covered by sovereign immunity, an argument which failed in the 361st.

Zachry Construction Corporation, the Texas Aggie Bonfire Committee and Scott-Macon Limited made claims against A&M after those groups were sued by the families of those affected by the collapse.

Those three groups will have to pay the costs of the appeal, with Zachry picking up 50 percent and the other two each responsible for 25 percent.

This is the second major appeals court ruling in favor of the university in the last four months. In April, the Fifth Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a ruling that dismissed complaints against A&M officials and the university. The court held that the officials were protected under qualified immunity, which is provided for state agencies in certain situations.

It is Texas A&M's policy not to comment concerning pending legal matters, and thusly, officials have no comment on this decision.