Senior citizen alleges UC Regents is responsible for injuries in lawsuit filed Friday

Jenna Wong/Staff

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An East Bay resident filed a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents on Friday, alleging that the board is negligent or in some manner responsible for injuries he incurred upon visiting campus two years ago.

According to the complaint, Timothy Preece, a senior with “substantial mobility issues,” visited UC Berkeley with his daughter to attend the football game against the University of Southern California on Oct. 31, 2015. The complaint alleges that when he arrived at the Maxwell Family Field Garage at 2175 Gayley Rd., he could not see a suitable pathway to the stadium nor proper patron assistance or guidance, such as signs, directing him to the stadium. According to the complaint, Preece received assurances that the parking lot provided access for people with “limited ambulation” to the stadium.

A campus employee driving a campus-owned golf cart parked across the street and allegedly waved Preece over instead of entering the structure to pick up those parked at the handicapped spaces, such as Preece. Preece “stumbled and fell over” when he tried to cross the street, according to Preece’s attorney, Matthew Haley.

“The cart should’ve gone right to where the handicapped spaces were, not across the street from the place,” Haley said. “That defeats the whole purpose of the (service).”

UC Berkeley could not comment on the suit as of press time because it had not heard back from its attorney, according to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

According to the complaint, Preece sustained serious injuries because of the fall. Haley said the injuries made Preece’s disabilities “much, much worse” and he has “never been the same” since. He added that Preece was hospitalized and in a care facility for several weeks after the incident before he was able to go home.

The complaint also lists Imperial Parking Corporation and City Park as defendants, alleging that they were “retained by the Regents to assist in the operation, maintenance, safety and accessibility of the parking structure at all times.”

Haley said that it is too early to estimate how much Preece will seek out in monetary compensation.

“Certainly one of the purposes of the complaint is to ensure that in events like this, there’s greater access for people with disabilities to get to the game,” Haley said.

Contact Cade Johnson at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @cadejohnson98.