On January 29, an iron gate at the Samuel Haynes Institute fell on then three year old Brenae Timmons, almost crushing her to death. Brenae who is four now, received serious body injuries that left her in a coma for about two weeks. Since then Brenae, with the help of her parents, has been recuperating slowly. However, her parents, Keisha Reneau and Bernard Timmons are of the belief that none of this would have happened if the iron gate was properly installed. This is why Brenae’s parents have decided to take legal action. With the legal assistance of Attorney Kareem Musa, they filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Human Development, the Samuel Haynes Institute, Contractor, Brian Espat, and the Attorney General of Belize. Reneau and Timmons are seeking damages for the injuries Brenae received. We spoke to attorney Kareem Musa.
“It is a claim that is grounded in negligence for the faulty construction and installation of an iron gate, an iron sliding gate that was installed at the Samuel Hanes Institute in January of 2016. I think it was about two weeks after the installation that this big heavy iron gate became dislodged and fell on top of Brenae Timmons causing severe head injuries which required several surgeries not only to her brain but she had to undergo eye surgeries as well because as a result of that she had suffered with strabismus so there are several medical complications that ensued. Brenae was actually in a coma for two weeks after this incident, it was truly a devastating and tragic accident and she was hospitalized for 36 days. So we have instituted this action for damages for the injuries that she suffered no doubt long lasting injuries because even though she has gone through successful surgeries the doctors are still seeing that there are side effects. She has had changes to her personality, she suffers from memory loss even though she is only 4 years old. She is no doubt very traumatised by this incident and is easily irritable and no doubt all of these things are as a result of the gate falling on top of her so that is what we are taking out against the government and the contractor Mr.Brian Espat.”
According to Musa, the mother of Brenae is also suing on her own behalf.
“As I mentioned baby Brenae suffered severe head injuries. She had to undergo several operations to her brain and to her eyes, she now suffers with chronic headaches, she has suffered a slow down in her developmental skills, her motor skills have been slow in coming along and certainly restricted. She suffers from physical imbalances she has to undergo physical and speech therapy at the Inspiration Center so now while she is speaking a lot better she still had to go through that therapy. She suffers with changes in her personality and she continues to have psychiatric damage from the incident and she is now very sensitive and emotional quite understandably. The parents are no doubt very happy for the progress that Brenae has made. If you ever asked if there was a miracle child I think you could look at Brenae, look at the condition she was in and the doctors weren’t very hopeful at the time because she was in a coma for tweeks but no doubt she has come out of that, the parents are extremely happy that she has made it through that but as I mentioned there are lasting long term effects and that is what we are suing for, the damages that that has caused.”
Brenae is back in school and is doing much better despite the initial prognosis that the doctors gave.
The claim was filed on September 28. From there the court will decide on a date for case management so that the case can proceed.