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Supreme Court issues ruling: Pickstock Development Association and its contractor’s negligence blamed for falling of iron-gate that injured 3-year-old girl

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Mar. 19, 2018– On January 29, 2016, a near-tragic accident occurred at the Pickstock Development Association, which houses the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence, located on Mahogany Street, when an iron gate fell on a 3-year-old girl, Brenae Timmons, and severely injured her.

Timmons had to be hospitalized for 36 days and was in an induced coma for two weeks with damage to her brain.

Timmons’ mother and father claimed general damages and special damages in a lawsuit they filed at the Supreme Court in September 2016. The case was argued and this morning attorney for Timmons family, Hon. Kareem Musa, received the decision in the chamber of Supreme Court Justice Madam Sonya Young.

The lawsuit named the Ministry of Human Development as the first defendant; the Samuel Haynes Institute as the second defendant; Brian Espat as the third defendant, and the Attorney General of Belize as the fourth defendant.

Brian Espat, a Belmopan-based contractor, was contracted by the Ministry of Human Development to construct the gate on the compound of the Samuel Haynes Institute.

In her ruling, Justice Young found in favor of Brenae and her father, Musa said after the in-chambers hearing this morning.

“I represent Brenae Timmons; she is currently 5 years old. When she was 3 years old, in January 2016, a huge iron gate fell on her while she was inside the compound of the Pickstock Development Association, which is also the premises for Samuel Haynes Institute and several other organizations. While she was on the compound, the gate had fallen off its track. The contractor at the time was Mr. Brian Espat,” stated Musa.

Musa added, “I am happy to say that the court has found in favor of Brenae and Mr. Timmons who brought the claim on her behalf as her father. The court has found that liability and negligence has been established against the Pickstock Development Association, because they are the owners and occupiers of the premises. They had a duty of care. They owed that duty to Brenae, being a visitor that day. The court also found that Mr. Brian Espat was negligent in the construction and installation of the said iron-gate.

Musa explained, “So far the court has only dealt with the legal cost in the sum of $10,000. But there is an assessment hearing now. We have the expert analysis of Dr. Joel Cervantes, who has given a medical report on Brenae’s status.”

Musa said that Brenae was in a coma which she has luckily come out of, but she still suffers from permanent damage caused by the accident.

“And there is permanent damages there, so we will be looking at those things in coming to a quantum that the Pickstock Development Association and Mr. Espat, in his personal capacity, will be paying the family of Brenae Timmons,” Musa pointed out.

Musa said that the parties must return to court on March 27 for the damage assessment hearing.

Bernard Timmons, 38, the father of Brenae Timmons, said, “I just want to say thank God that justice has been served and thank God for Kareem Musa also. He has not only been my attorney, but he is also my area representative. He was there from the very beginning to the very end, like a true friend should.”

Timmons also said that their daughter’s balance is not fully there. “Her eyesight is not fully there and she is very emotional. She cries for every little thing. There are a lot of things that we notice about her that won’t be the same again,” he said.

Timmons was asked if Brenae is going through any kind of therapy presently.

“Right now she goes to the Inspiration Center and Mr. Zuniga’s therapy, on Amara Avenue. We have done several surgeries on her and also we have been to the Loma Luz. The last time I checked, there was a bill for over $2,000 at the hospital. My wife lost her job and we are struggling financially. It’s taking a toll on her, and thank God my daughter is still alive,” Timmons said.

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