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As Tigerland construction site stunts continue, legal expert sees little liability for city-parish

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BATON ROUGE - As videos and pictures swirl around social media showing bar-goers, among others, jumping from the construction site along Bob Pettit Boulevard, one legal expert says the city-parish likely is not liable for any related injuries.

A new video circulating on Twitter appears to show two people dangling from a crane in the construction site.

Ill-advised decisions similar to that started nearly as soon as the bridge into Tigerland was shut down for replacement late last month.

The reckless moves quickly caught the attention of bar owners, who for months have been trying to get a pedestrian bridge built to serve as a path into Tigerland during the course of construction.

"College students aren't always the brightest, that's why they're here getting educated," Darin Adams of Reggie's said. "Some of the videos, I'm sure you saw from the weekend, people jumping down from the top of the bridge to the bottom of the canal, I mean that's not safe."

After one weekend of bad behavior, the city-parish installed a fence that is now adorned with signs saying "danger" and "no trespassing." Even with several warnings clearly visible, people are still ignoring them.

An LSU law professor said some of them may regret doing that.

"College students are adults, and so they assume the risk when they climb a crane, or when they jump when there are gates and signs saying don't do that," Professor Ken Levy said.

For a little over a week, the area was not fenced off. That, Levy says, could have posed a problem for the city-parish in the event of a lawsuit.

Now that those signs and fencing are up, he says that's changed.

"If the students choose to file suit, I don't think there's going to be much liability, if any, for the city," Levy said. "At least from the time that they put up gates and signs saying to keep out."

Even today, the fence doesn't fully enclose the site. Still, Levy says, the liability likely lies with those taking the risks.

"It was very foreseeable that students would do whatever they could to get into Tigerland," Levy said. "The smartest thing to do, I think, would've been to put gates around it, make it impossible to try to jump. But, they did put the gates up, they did put the signs up. The students are adults. It's an open and obvious risk. Generally, that should be enough."

Over the coming months as construction continues, likely into next summer, if any injury lawsuits are filed, Levy believes the city has a strong case to go to trial and avoid settling.

That could be affected a bit, he cautions, if it's a Tigerland resident rather than a bar-goer who is injured.

Overall, Levy adds, those choosing to take part in dangerous stunts know better.

"This has been a big story, all of the jumping and some of the injuries," Levy said. "So, any students, after the gates went up [and] after the signs went up that were still jumping, I think that's on them."

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