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Funeral fall, death bring $6M lawsuit

March 13, 2012

PIT AREA ... The pit area in the now-named Erekson Theatre at Bellmont High School is seen at lower right during the funeral of Sgt. Phillip Jenkins. (File Photo)

    FORT WAYNE—  The husband of a Fort Wayne woman who fell from the stage at Bellmont High School during a 2010 military funeral and later died has filed a $6 million wrongful death lawsuit, according to a Fort Wayne television station.
    Details of the suit were not available this morning, but it was believed the action was filed in U.S. Federal Court in Fort Wayne.
    Named as defendants in the lawsuit, filed by Brian Schible in the death of his wife, Roxeann, were the North Adams Community Schools, Haggard and Sefton Funeral Home, and the government.
     In September of 2010, Brian and Roxeann Schible were at the Bellmont High School theatre (since named Erekson Theatre) to pay their respects during military funeral services there for Sgt. Phillip Jenkins, who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq. Roxeann Schible fell from the stage into an orchestra pit and died days later.
    According to the WANE-TV website, Schible said the defendants "had a duty to provide a reasonably safe premises" during the funeral,  and according to him it wasn't safe. Schible claims the defendants failed to provide adequate lighting, failing to warn of foreseeable dangers, failing to rope off the stage, and failing to provide adequate personnel to supervise and direct visitors.
    Brian Schible blames the government, North Adams Community School Corporation, and a funeral home for his wife, Roxeann's, death, the television station reported.
    The website said Roxeann Schible's sister, Carol, questions why Schible's wanting to sue these defendants. According to her, Roxeann admitted it was her fault before her death. "I love my sister dearly but you can't walk out in front of a semi and then sue the semi driver," she told the TV station.

 

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