Widow of man found dead in SunTrust Park beer cooler files lawsuit

Credit: Courtesy of Nathan Churchill

Credit: Courtesy of Nathan Churchill

The wife of a man who died while installing beer taps inside a SunTrust Park cooler has filed a lawsuit alleging the Atlanta Braves and others were aware of carbon dioxide leaks and a faulty door mechanism that she believes led to her husband’s death.

Angela Keeling’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Fulton County State Court, seeks unspecified damages in the “wrongful death” of Marvin Todd Keeling. Defendants listed in the lawsuit include the Braves and several construction and beverage service companies.

Keeling, 48, was found dead June 26, 2018, inside a walk-in beer cooler behind a concession area in Section 331 at SunTrust Park. An autopsy said Keeling, of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, had injuries to his head and died from carbon dioxide poisoning. His body was discovered around 2:30 p.m.; workers tried to perform CPR, but were unsuccessful. Family members told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Keeling was installing his own beer tap invention in the cooler at the time of his death.

READMan who died at SunTrust Park was there installing his beer invention

Beth Marshall, a spokeswoman with the Atlanta Braves, said the company won’t release a statement “due to ongoing litigation.” Peter Law of the Law & Morgan law firm, which is representing Angela Keeling, also declined to comment on specific details outlined in the lawsuit.

“The allegations speak for themselves,” Law said.

According to the lawsuit, Keeling was finalizing the installation of the tap system when the cooler filled with carbon dioxide. The autopsy report said Keeling's "fall/collapse was very rapid or that he was so disoriented that he was unable to form or act on logical thought processes."

Credit: Courtesy of Nathan Churchill

Credit: Courtesy of Nathan Churchill

Keeling’s lawyers contend the 48-year-old inventor had no way to get out of the cooler because of a “faulty door release mechanism that was improperly constructed, assembled, maintained and allowed to exist” despite knowledge of its status.

“These defendants received an email before Todd Keeling’s death that there were issues with the door release mechanisms in coolers throughout the stadium,” the suit says, adding that the faulty systems could cause people to become trapped inside the coolers.

Credit: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Credit: United States Patent and Trademark Office

The lawyers also argue the defendants were aware of carbon dioxide leaks in the beer distribution system, including the cooler where Keeling died, and failed to install a carbon dioxide monitor, alarm system or proper ventilation.

“This created an unreasonable risk of injury to those individuals inside of and around Cooler 331, including Marvin Todd Keeling,” the lawsuit states.

Law told the AJC the defendants have 30 days to respond to the suit.

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