Family of teen who plunged to death in Mexico awarded $15 million

By Jon Campisi | Jul 2, 2011

The estate of a teenager who plunged to his death during an organized trip to Mexico has been awarded a $15 judgment, according to court papers.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph I. Papalini entered the judgment, which consists of $2 million in wrongful death damages and $13 million for survival act damages, on June 28, according to the docket sheet in Crane et al v. Travel for Teens, LLC.

The complaint, which was filed in mid June 2009 by Philadelphia attorneys Thomas R. Kline and Dominic C. Guerrini of the firm Kline & Specter, alleged that Taylor Patterson Crane’s death on July 20, 2007 was caused by defendant Travel for Teens’ gross negligence in failing to properly train its employees and failing to warn Travel for Teens Participants about the dangerous conditions in and around the Cinco Senores Mines.

Susan L. Patterson, Crane’s mother and the administratrix of his estate, filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her deceased son, who traveled to Mexico on July 15, 2007 on a trip organized by Wayne, Pa.-based Travel for Teens and Casa de los Angeles. The trip, according to the complaint, was designed to offer U.S. teens a chance to work with underprivileged Mexican children.

On July 20, 2007, Crane was part of a group of about 30 teenagers who went on a field trip to the Cinco Senores Mines in Pozos, Mexico. Prior to the outing, “no employee of Travel for Teens had ever had visited Cinco Senores Mines before allowing the thirty American teenagers to visit these abandoned silver mines,” the lawsuit states.

The site, the suit states, contained ruins and numerous abandoned mine shafts.

While playing tag with a group of Mexican children, Crane ran toward an abandoned mine shaft, which had no railings or any warning signs, and ended up plunging 500 feet to his death, the lawsuit states.

The complaint had been brought by Crane’s parents, Susan Patterson and Christopher Crane, and the decedent’s brother, Colin Patterson Crane. The family resides in West Chester, Pa.

According to court papers, Travel for Teens arranges group trips for teenagers to Europe and other international destinations.

Co-defendant Casa de los Angeles is an Illinois corporation that regularly arranges group trips by American teens to Mexico.

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