NBC Sued for Wrongful Death Following Wheelchair Crash Near 'America's Got Talent' Filming Site

The family of a 79-year-old woman claims she died because of injuries caused by crashing her wheelchair while trying to use a disabled access ramp to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Courtesy of NBC
'America's Got Talent'

NBC is being sued for wrongful death by the family of a woman who died after allegedly falling out of her wheelchair near the set of an America's Got Talent shoot.

Maureen Allen's family claims she died on June 25, 2017, as the result of "severe and debilitating injuries" she suffered on March 26 of that year while trying to maneuver her wheelchair over an obstruction that blocked access to a handicap ramp to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

The 79-year-old Allen and her husband were volunteering at the 67th Annual Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair, which was being held at the event center. Both of them were using motorized wheelchairs, and they discovered that disabled access points to the auditorium were blocked off because America's Got Talent was filming there in the coming days. 

"[T]he television show's trailers and equiptment [sic] were blocking all handicap access points to the building except for one," writes attorney Brian Panish. "However, in order to gain access to the SUBJECT RAMP, individuals with disabilities were forced to navigate and maneuver over a large power cord protector that obstructed the only available path of travel."

The front wheel of Allen's wheelchair got caught on the cord protector and the chair flipped onto its side, according to the complaint. Allen was thrown from the chair onto the payment, which resulted in a broken hip and injuries to her head and arms. The injuries, her family claims, caused a blood clot and severe stroke and caused Allen to undergo multiple procedures including a hip replacement. She died after two days on life support.

Allen's family is also suing the City of Pasadena and the show's producers. NBC has not yet replied to a request for comment on the complaint, which is posted below.