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Widow Sues Dallas Cowboys, Among Others, For Husband's Fatal Fall From Billboard

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On August 15, 40-year-old John Burnette of Boyd climbed his way up to a three-sided, illuminated billboard he was supposed to service. The billboard, on a lot off of Division Street, is part of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium complex -- No. 14, one of the Cowboys Silver Lots. Burnette opened a trap door to the lower catwalk some 15 feet off the ground. He climbed 60 feet higher and passed through another trap door to the upper catwalk.

But, according to a complaint filed Dallas County District Court, as he attempted to secure his safety harness to a railing, the trap door gave way, and Burnette plummeted some 65 feet to his death.

His widow, a Denton County woman named Angie Freese, and his mother, who lives in Georgia, are suing, in no particular order: Reynolds Sign, Burnette's Irving employer; Commercial Metals Company, which supplied the materials used in the sign's construction; trapdoor and catwalk designer McFarland Engineering, and the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, for whom the complaint claims the sign was built. They're asking for unspecified damages for negligence

Reached this morning, a representative for the Cowboys said she had no information on the lawsuit.

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