The collapse of the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility received a great deal of media coverage primarily because of its connection to professional football. Now it’s learned that the company that built the collapsed Dallas Cowboys’ training facility also manufactured at least three other buildings that have fallen in heavy weather since 2002. The other tent-like facilities manufactured by Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Summit Structures LLC or its related company, Cover-All Building Systems, were warehouse-type buildings in Philadelphia and upstate New York and an indoor arena for horse competition in Oregon. It appears that all of those buildings fell in conditions that included heavy snow.

The collapse of the Cowboys’ facility in heavy winds on May 2nd left 12 people injured, including a 33-year-old team staff member who is paralyzed from the waist down. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the incident. There were other injuries to persons who were in the facility. The collapse of the Cowboys’ facility, built in 2003 and upgraded in 2008, has focused attention on Summit as well as Cover-All, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Summit sells and sometimes installs structures fabricated by Cover-All. The following is a recap of the previous failures:

When a Summit structure covering freight for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority collapsed in February 2003, it resulted in a lengthy court battle that ended with a jury awarding the port more than $3.4 million in damages. A judge in the case ruled that the building collapsed due to a failure of the design to account for snow buildup on the roof.

Another lawsuit, which is still pending, involves the collapse of a building for storing ice-melting chemicals in Fort Plain, New York. The suit, filed by the insurance carrier for the company that owned the building, alleges that Cover-All’s negligence caused the building to fall when its membrane was ripped during a snowstorm in February 2007.

The Oregon case arose after a rancher had a Cover-All facility built on his property for dressage competition. The 15,840-square-foot building collapsed in January 2002 under the weight of snow that was “substantially” less than the capacity for which the structure was built, according to the lawsuit. The suit has since been settled.

I suspect there will be litigation arising out of the latest incident in Texas. The prior problems will certainly be a factor in that litigation and could result in punitive damages being awarded.

Source: Associated Press

Jere L. Beasley, Beasley Allen Founder
Jere Beasley

Jere Beasley, the founding member of Beasley Allen Law Firm, has practiced law as an advocate for victims of wrongdoing since 1962. He was the lead Beasley Allen attorney in the record $11.9 billion award against ExxonMobil Corp. on behalf of the state of Alabama.


We're here to help!

We live by our creed of “helping those who need it most” and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

Fields marked * may be required for submission.

A positive manner

Several years ago my brother and sister -in-law were in a terrible car accident. My sister in-law was paralyzed from her neck down. Beasley Allen handled the case for my brother to see to it that my sister-in-law received the proper and necessary care she needed. I appreciate the attorneys and staff of Beasley Allen in handling this matter quickly and in a positive manner. Good job Beasley Allen!!

—Joan