RTV6, the local ABC affiliate in Indianapolis, has reported that WWE, amongst other defendants, are being sued over the death of Susan Prim, who died after she attended SummerSlam 2008 from a fatal asthma attack, which her family claim was caused by the show closing pyrotechnic display to celebrate The Undertaker's victory over Edge in their feud ending Hell In A Cell match.
Her son Brodie Prim told news reporters that: "She was telling us she was having trouble breathing, she wasn’t feeling too well and so we walked out, we walked to the hallway and then she collapsed. She really didn't say nothing, she was passed out."
Other members of the Prim family added: "She had been down too long without oxygen and she had no brain activity. They had her on life support but they told me she was already gone. The brain damage was so severe that she went from respiratory arrest to cardiac arrest and never came back from it."
This week, the Indiana Court of Appeals sided with the Prims and decided that their list of defendants stands, which not only includes World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., but also the Conseco Fieldhouse where the event was held, the Capital Improvement Board, the city of Indianapolis, Pacers Basketball, LLC, and various other pyrotechnic and entertainment companies. Basically everyone who was in some way responsible for making sure the show was safe.
It's surprising that there hasn't been other similar lawsuits, given WWE's past problems with firework displays, which we detailed three years ago when The Undertaker was burnt by his pyro during his entrance at the Elimination Chamber 2010 pay-per-view event:
"According to the Observer, The Undertaker's pyro went off at the wrong time, causing his coat to catch fire. He threw it down, and then went off camera where he was doused with water as he entered the glass Elimination Chamber pod. No word yet as to the seriousness of the burns.
About a decade ago, he had a close call when a flash pot on the ring post misfired and almost blew up in his face. The clip was oddly inserted into the opening of Sunday Night Heat (with its flame-themed logo) for an extended period of time. Two years ago at WrestleMania XXIV, 45 fans were injured after a cable guiding some of the fireworks snapped and fell into the upper level of the Citrus Bowl. The wind conditions in the outdoor stadium were blamed by some, as fans had overheard staffers arguing over walkie-talkies about if they should cancel the display due to the weather."
Personally, this seems like a tough case for the Prim family to win, even though they've suffered an awful tragedy. Unlike what happened at WrestleMania XXIV, where there was clear negligence, the lighting the ring on fire stunt didn't seem to be botched.