Parents of 8-Year-Old Boy File Lawsuit Against Navy Pier After He was Severely Injured When He Fell Off the Climbing Wall

George Brewer

Levin & Perconti Files Complaint Alleging Workers Failed to Secure His Harness Properly. Accuses One of Chicago’s Most Popular Tourist Destinations of Negligence and Willful and Wanton Disregard for Safety.

Chicago, Ill. November 15, 2022 Erin and Gideon Brewer filed a 10 count lawsuit against Navy Pier alleging its failure to follow basic safety protocols caused their eight-year-old son George to fall from the top of the 24 foot climbing wall and suffer serious injuries. The horrifying fall was captured on video. The complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County on Tuesday afternoon by Levin & Perconti accuses Navy Pier, one of the Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions, of negligence and willful and wanton disregard for the child’s safety. The complaint alleges workers failed to properly harness and secure the young boy to the climbing wall and that he then fell from the top onto the concrete pavement without anything on the ground to cushion the fall.

The eight-year-old suffered severe injuries all over his body from his face to his ankles. He was taken by ambulance to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital where he received emergency medical treatment and underwent four surgeries. He will have another surgery in January and perhaps more in the future. He was confined to a wheelchair for several months and now is only able to walk using a walker. He is receiving extensive physical therapy.

It happened in July when the Brewers were visiting Chicago from their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They took their children to Navy Pier because it touted itself as family friendly. According to the complaint, Navy Pier’s Pier Park Attractions was in charge of overseeing the climbing wall and advertised it as safe for children with qualified attendants controlling the operation of the attraction.

Rock Climbing Wall at Navy Pier Chicago
Rock Climbing Wall at Navy Pier

“We trusted Navy Pier to operate the climbing wall safely and care about our kids. It is a major tourist attraction and we thought it was reputable,” said Gideon Brewer, George’s father. “Part of the reason we are filing this lawsuit is to warn other parents who take their children to Navy Pier to beware. Safety and concern for children are clearly not their priorities.”

The Brewers took their three children to Navy Pier on July 27th for a day of fun. They went to the climbing wall. When it was George’s turn to climb, the attendant put the harness on him but did not attach the safety rope. The attendant told George to press the button to start the timer and go. Unaware he was not properly secured, George’s parents and younger brothers cheered him as he climbed up the wall. His mother was filming it on her cell phone. George made it to the top of the wall and then suddenly plunged 24 feet to the ground because there was no safety rope that would have allowed him to descend safely and slowly. There was also no mattress or netting as is recommended by the state government to cushion a fall and he slammed into the concrete pavement.

“I will never forget the horror of my son hitting the ground so hard with no protection. Within seconds, a beautiful family day turned into our worst nightmare. Little did we know that as we encouraged our son to climb to the top of the wall that he was going to fall off and nearly die,” said Erin Brewer, George’s mother. “Our family is traumatized by this.”

Two employees who were operating the climbing wall and Spectrum Sports are also named as defendants in the suit.

After George fell, it was clear he was severely injured but no one from Navy Pier offered any help or support. Bystanders called 911and supported the family until paramedics arrived. No one from Navy Pier ever reached out to see how George was doing while he was in the hospital nor since he has been home.

“There is no excuse for a child not being safely fastened in at a climbing wall for any reason. Whether it was carelessness, a lack of training, supervision, proper safety equipment or just not caring about the children climbing the wall, Navy Pier failed George and his family miserably every step of the way,” said Steve Levin, founding partner of Levin and Perconti. “If Navy Pier cannot operate the climbing wall and other attractions safely, they need to shut them down.”

Two employees who were operating the climbing wall and Spectrum Sports are also named as defendants in the suit.

The Brewer Family
The Brewer Family in Chicago

About Levin & Perconti 

Levin & Perconti is a nationally renowned law firm concentrating in all types of personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death litigation. The lawyers at Levin & Perconti are committed to protecting and vindicating the rights of people who are injured by the negligence of others.