Airport sign collapse update: no defendants in Bresette lawsuit admit blame

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The legal wrangling over who is responsible for a young boy’s death at the Birmingham Airport earlier this year has begun.

Contractors named in the lawsuit and the Airport Authority have previously denied all culpability in the display board collapse. According to legal documents recently filed by some contractors, that hasn’t changed.

A.G. Gaston Construction Company lists 54 different defenses it might possibly use in court. A few of those defenses include — in simple terms — it’s another company’s fault, the charges are too vague and the punishments wouldn’t be fair.

The Birmingham Airport Authority is not named in the lawsuit; however, the plaintiffs issued subpoenas for pictures, emails and other documents related to the display board collapse. The Authority lists 12 objections to complying with those requests, claiming the requests are too broad and some information is protected by attorney-client privilege.

John Carroll is a retired Alabama judge and currently serves as the dean of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. He explains how some of the proceedings work.

“For example, if a lawyer says to his client, ‘Let me see all these documents,'” Carroll said, “That may privilege those documents because looking at those documents might reveal what the lawyer was thinking about at the time.”

Typically attorneys on both sides are able to work out what is privileged and what isn’t among themselves. He says raising a lot of objections is also a delaying tactic, one that could be punishable by a judge.

The next public hearing in the Bresette lawsuit will be held in Judge Tom King’s courtroom on July 30th.

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