A $25 million wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Blackshear Consolidated Mens Club (CMC) in connection with the death of Bella Bennett.
Bennett, 5, died early Monday, Aug. 30, of injuries she sustained after a monument at the Lee Street Resource Center toppled over on her Sunday, Aug. 29.
Lorrie Lee, Bennett’s maternal grandmother, filed the suit. She is being represented by Monge and Associates Law Firm in Atlanta.
The 21-page filing was recorded in Pierce County Superior Court Wednesday, Sept. 8.
In the suit, Lee alleges that Blackshear CMC was negligent in not properly maintaining the monument.
The monument, located in front of the old Lee Street High School, recognizes the contributions of the alumni of the historic former Black high school. The CMC is a fraternal organization that maintains the facility and grounds as the Lee Street Resource Center. The Resource Center provides an after-school mentoring program and is used for various social and civic events in the community.
The suit alleges the CMC “maintained an attractive nuisance” with the playground and monument and flag pole in close proximity.
The filing claims CMC did not properly maintain the monument, alleging that three of the four bolts anchoring the stone monument were missing. It also claims CMC was aware of the problem because the monument had allegedly fallen over in the past and was repaired using only adhesive on the base.
Theodore Mackey is the registered agent with the CMC and has been served with the suit.
Mackey said the CMC has not yet hired an attorney to represent them. He declined additional comment about the pending suit.