‘America’s Got Talent’ producer, NBCU sued for wrongful death of woman in wheelchair

'America's Got Talent' -- "Judge Cuts" Episode 1210. Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The producers of NBC reality competition America’s Got Talent (AGT) and NBCUniversal are being sued for wrongful death by the family of a woman who died after she fell out of her wheelchair near the set of an America’s Got Talent shoot.

In a 20-page complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 7, the estate of Maureen Allen says her fall at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in March 2017 “required multiple hospitalizations and operations” and “was a substantial factor in causing her death.”

Allen’s family claims her death on June 25, 2017, was the result of “severe and debilitating injuries” she suffered on March 26 of that year while trying to manoeuvre her wheelchair over an obstruction that blocked access to a wheelchair ramp to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

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(Documents courtesy of Deadline)

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AGT producer FremantleMedia North America and the City of Pasadena also are named as defendants.

The lawsuit says 79-year-old Allen and her husband were volunteering at a county-sponsored science and engineering fair when she tried to enter the venue. Both of them were using motorized wheelchairs and they discovered that wheelchair access points to the auditorium were blocked off because AGT 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 lawyer 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.”

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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 allegedly thrown from the chair onto the pavement, which resulted in a broken hip and injuries to her head and arms.

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Her family claims that the injuries caused a blood clot and a severe stroke which resulted in Allen undergoing multiple procedures including a hip replacement.

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Allen “was forced to undergo no less than eight different procedures as a result of the injuries” but was placed on life support and died two days after on June 25, 2017, three months after the incident.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, alleging wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress, violation of California disabled persons act and other counts.

NBCUniversal has not commented on the matter as of this writing.

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