Settlement in '11 fatal rodeo ride accident possible near

March 15, 2012 10:00:00 PM PDT
An accident on a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ride last year led to a lawsuit. A man was killed when he fell from a roller coaster at the carnival. Nearly a year after that tragedy, it looks like there may be some movement in that legal battle.

After months of negotiations, we've learned both sides have reached a settlement in this case. Brian Greenhouse died while riding the Hi-Miler roller coaster on the last night of the 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. That ride did not return this year.

On this the last weekend of the rodeo, the midway at Reliant Park is packed. The carnival rides are in constant motion, and it's all about fun.

But in Harris County civil court, there's an upcoming conclusion to a tragic night at the rodeo. Almost a year ago to the day, 47-year-old Greenhouse, a father, fell 30 feet to his death from the Hi-Miler roller coaster. The autopsy report showed he was intoxicated.

But still, court records indicate the rodeo is going to pay.

"There will be a settlement. There will be payment for the death of this individual," KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy said.

Since Greenhouse's family is suing the rodeo and the ride operator, Ray Cammack Shows, for negligence, they declined comment, as did the family's attorneys. But we found court records that would make the settlement official March 29 and in the plaintiff's fourth amended petition of the lawsuit is a dollar amount Androphy says the family will get.

"They're asking for the amount not greater than $500,000; that tells you it's going to be $500,000, maybe a little less," Androphy said.

Like all settlements, Androphy says both sides are comprising for their own reasons.

"It's a risk for the plaintiffs to go to trial and a potential embarrassment for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo if there's anything in their background," he said.

And just because you write a check doesn't necessarily mean admitting fault.

"It's never healthy for a company to go through trial. Even if you win, you pay for your lawyers, it's bad publicity; even though the person was drunk, people will always be suspicious of the ride," Androphy said.

That settlement conference is set for March 29. We should learn the terms of this agreement then. However, if it falls through, a trial date of April 2 has been set.