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Old 11-17-2005, 06:51 AM  
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Lawsuit over Death @ Joe's Crab Shak....Please comment

Victim's family alleges negligence in drowning lawsuit
By ANITA MILLER - News Editor
Posted: Wednesday, Nov 16, 2005 - 03:53:23 pm CST

The family of a Texas State University student who drowned after jumping off the balcony at Joe's Crab Shack nearly six months ago has filed a wrongful death suit against the university and Landry's Restaurants.

Sam Bonnin, the father of Jason Lee Bonnin, filed the lawsuit in the 207th Judicial District Court in Hays County seeking unspecified damages for the loss of his son. The petition also calls for a jury trial.

Bonnin, who was a server at Joe's Crab Shack, drowned after jumping from the restaurant into the swirling waters beneath the chute at Spring Lake Dam after his shift ended on April 21. His body was recovered by the San Marcos Area Recovery Team hours later from one of three submerged compartments in the restaurant's foundation.

Houston attorney Chad Dunn, who is representing Sam Bonnin of Houston, said the suit addresses both the university and the restaurant because both were negligent - Texas State for failing to make and keep the area safe for swimming and Landry's for not discouraging what he says was a long-standing tradition of employees jumping from the balcony.

Both the dam and building that now houses the restaurant are more than 100 years old, with the dam originally built to power a gristmill in the adjacent building. The three submerged compartments originally housed turbines.

?There is evidence of repairs made to the dam that increased the turbulence of the water,? Dunn said, referring to the rebuilding of the chute after it was damaged in the flood of October 1998. The lawsuit alleges the repairs, which were overseen by both state and federal agencies, ?created a dangerous condition? that had ?previously not existed.?

?This has been a long-term swimming hole and it was expected by all the engineers and folks involved it would continue to be used that way,? Dunn said. ?If you look at the area on the downside of the falls, there's a stairway, there's handles. It was clearly set up as a swimming hole.

?When the repairs were made some notification should have been made to folks that this was no longer a safe swimming area. At a bare minimum a study should have been conducted to see if it was,? he continued. ?When the circumstances changed, no provisions were taken to inform the public ?what you've been doing for decades you can't do anymore - it's not safe.'?

Bill Fly, university attorney, declined to comment except to say ?the university does not feel responsible for this incident, as tragic as it may be.?

Concerning Landry's, Dunn said Joe's Crab Shack employees told police the night that Bonnin drowned that the restaurant had ?what they allege was a long-term policy of not allowing employees? to jump from the building. ?But what's clear from talking to folks who worked there, that policy was rarely if ever enforced.?

Dunn said on the night that Bonnin drowned, he was among three people who had jumped from the building and that one of them was a fellow employee of the restaurant.

?On the night of the incident he didn't get killed on the first jump. He gets out, walks back through the restaurant with two other folks in wet clothing. I don't see how management could not have been aware of what was going on.?

A call to Landry's Restaurant's corporate office was not returned on Tuesday.

Just last week, representatives of the university, city and community were told that the dam chute, as rebuilt, sends water at an angle that is 18 degrees different from before the rebuilding.

San Marcos Area Dive Team Lt. Dan Misiaszek, who is also the man who pulled Bonnin's body from the submerged compartment, told the River Committee that water now is forced directly into a retaining wall which splits it, sending half back toward the restaurant where it creates a whirlpool that sweeps whatever is caught in it into one of the compartments.

A month after the drowning, Misiaszek spoke publicly about the dangerous whirlpool but added that except for that area, swimming is safe. ?Only swim on the downstream side of the waterfall,? he said then.

The committee was formed not long after Bonnin's death and immediately ordered signs to be posted warning of the dangerous currents.

University Police spent several weekends handing out flyers about river safety and visiting with swimmers.

Dunn said that speaks directly to the allegation of negligence. ?After his life was taken, the signs go up, that's what we do know.?

He said he's still looking into the rebuilding of the chute but is ?afraid the dam was constructed in a matter to make it more visually appealing rather than having the direct concern of safety.?

amiller@sanmarcosrecord.com

PLEASE COMMMENT
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Old 11-17-2005, 11:28 AM  
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It's tragic that someone died and I feel a little callous for the comments that I am about to make, but there are signs everywhere that tell people not to dive in there and jumping off the deck is idiocy.

Landry's ought to sue the kid's estate for damages they incurred due to his complete lack of sense and good judgement.

Honestly, what *won't* people sue for?
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:03 PM  
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IF this kids family gets one cent, I'm gonna freak out.

And if they try to close off that part of the river, I'll freak out even worse.

If they want to worry about a dam they should take a close look under rio vist dam. I give that thing 15 years and it's blowing out. I've got some 100 year old pics of that thing and let me tell you this...it's erodeing faster now than it ever has.
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Old 11-17-2005, 05:03 PM  
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son of a gun....look what's on the front page of todays paper.
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Old 11-17-2005, 11:15 PM  
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dumbass

Unfreakinbeleivable! I wonder if his parents inscribed his tombstone with the word "dumbass" on it?
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Old 11-19-2005, 11:08 AM  
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litigation

Aaron, are you referring to this?
http://sanmarcosrecord.com/articles/...news/news1.txt

As for they guy who drowned.. That's really too bad. For him. Because he was the dumbass who threw himself off the dam. There's no way that lawsuit should win anything.. but it probably will. *sigh*.
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Old 11-19-2005, 01:15 PM  
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yep thats the one hodges.

I mentioned to the parks department about two years ago that the rio vista dam was fixin to fall apart and they blew me off.
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:03 AM  
javajae
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to the family

To the family:
First, I would like to offer my condolences. Second, I would like to appologize for the mentally inept who have commented on this thread. Your son was not solely responsible; he was pressured into jumping from Joes. The company was negligent in the case. He jumped out of peer pressure to continue an "employee tradition". The managers were aware of and condoned the tradition, which makes them negligent. Though I do not think that the company had any malicious intentions, they were negligent. I hope that you are able to find closure and remember the good times.
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Old 11-22-2005, 05:56 AM  
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for the record...
I worked at Peppers ( resturaunt before joes ) for about 3 months, untill they closed. When they did shutdown, myself and half the resturaunt crew jumped off that exact same balcony, some jumped off the roof of the balcony.
It wasn't "peer pressure" that made me do it. It was a combination of two things.
1. Being age 22
2. Alcholol
That's what made me jump...that's all.


You jump into a waterfall, you have no one else to blame but yourself.

People like you java...people who feel that it's everyone elses fault buy you own, your the people that makes insurance premiums so high, your the reason there is no aggie bonfire anymore, and your the reason there are no diving boards in public pools anymore. And by the sound of this article, it seems your the people that will make it so I can't swim in MY river.

I don't and didn't mean to be rude.
Although there may be some...how did you say it " Mentally inept" people on this board, the majority of them who post are profesional adults, and any flameing going on was started by you.

I am sorry for the lose of this young mans life. But what better way to go? When I die I pray to ALL the gods that I'm that lucky.
The dude died jumping into a river...come on...what? Would you rather wither away in an old folks home, or go out doing something crazy.

If your going to rip on these board memebers, you should join yourself. I don't mind that your ripping on us, I mind that you didn't take the time to register ;-)

Where you there?
Have you worked at Joes?
You sound like you have inside information.

Please join, and please don't take life that serious. IT ruins it for the rest of us.

Humbly,
A2

PS....I really did jump off the railing of that balcany..in my underwear...at about 1 in the morning. And yes the manager and other higher ups of the resturaunt where there, alot of them jumped too. And yes I have seen people...naked people...jump off the roof of joes crabshack...now and back when it was peppers..and eversince that building was built. Over A HUNDRED YEARS..people have been jumping off of it, and over that time people have always gotten hurt ( a girl tore her back up the night I jumped) and I'm sure many many people have died jumping off that exact same structure. HEll people die in that river EVER YEAR. A baby died in this summer.

But now after a 100 years, you people seem to have figured it all out and your going to make everything nice and safe for me...right...?

or

But now after a 100 years, you people seem to have it all figured out, and THIS time...some one is going to have to pay $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Those people are genius'. I wonder what social problem these people are going to solve next?

(again I apalogize if this seems rude...it wasn't ment to be)
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Old 11-22-2005, 06:01 AM  
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also..before any of us jumpt to conclusions. We must read the ME's report. right?

Hodges..keep an eye out for it, for me would ya?

again...no disrespect insinuated or implied,
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