4 fans hurt after railing collapse at FedEx Field sue Commanders, others

Four people who say they were injured when a railing gave way at FedEx Field last season have sued the Washington Commanders for physical and emotional suffering.

On Jan. 2, 2022, the four plaintiffs were greeting the Philadelphia Eagles as the team left the field through a tunnel after beating Washington, 20-16.

In a widely circulated social media video, fans reached to high-five Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts as he walked into a tunnel before a railing collapsed, causing fans to tumble several feet to the field, some falling on top of each other.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland says the four plaintiffs traveled from New Jersey to Landover, Maryland, to attend the game. Michael Naimoli, Andrew Collins, Morgan French and Marissa Santarlasci are each seeking “in excess of $75,000” as they continue to seek treatment for injuries suffered in the fall. The suit claims they sustained cuts, bruises, cervical strains, muscle sprains and “other potential long-term effects, both physical and emotional.”

The four defendants in the suit include the Commanders, the company which owns FedEx Field, and the companies that provide ushers and security and stadium repair and inspection.

“At no time did any Defendants advise the Plaintiffs and others to avoid leaning against the railing. To the contrary, upon seeking permission from [from ushers], Plaintiffs were directed and guided down to the railing area alongside the tunnel,” according to the suit, filed by attorney Robert Sokolove.

The suit claims stadium personnel “failed to provide even the bare minimum of assistance” to those who fell; instead, they say, they “physically dragged the Plaintiffs out of the tunnel, and quickly hoisted them up to the area in the stands from which they had fallen.”

According to the suit, the team has never attempted to contact any of the plaintiffs to determine the level of their injuries.

“The Defendants’ callous and uncaring attitude and total lack of care and concern for the Plaintiffs is indicative of a total, outrageous, grossly negligent approach” to customers who were “owed a reasonable duty of care.”

Joe Maloney, the team’s vice president of public affairs, declined to comment on the suit.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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