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Family of Dallas man who died after falling from rooftop takes legal action against bar

Christopher Hill, 25, fell from the rooftop bar on March 12 and died shortly after.

DALLAS — Editor's Note: The story has been updated Tuesday with an update from the attorney representing 77 Degrees.

Family members of the man who fell from a Northeast Dallas bar and later died are taking legal action against the restaurant, according to the law firm representing them.

The parents and brother of Christopher Hill, the 25-year-old man who fell from 77 Degrees Rooftop Bar in Dallas on March 12 and died shortly after, are filing a temporary restraining order against the bar.

The owners of the bar have ignored requests to begin an investigation, according to the Simpson Tuegel Law Firm. 

However, the idea the bar isn't cooperating with police is incorrect, according to attorney Dave Wishnew. He is representing 77 Degrees.

"The owners and employees of 77 Degrees offer their condolences to Mr. Hill’s family," Wishnew said in a statement sent to WFAA. "This was a tragic loss of life."

Wishnew said out of respect for the family and law enforcement, his team will only be providing minimal comment about certain allegations that have been made by the family’s lawyers.

"77 Degrees was not negligent in connection with Mr. Hill’s death," Wishnew said in the statement. "The bar’s structure is fully code-compliant and has been inspected and approved by the City of Dallas. The bar’s staff is dedicated, well trained, and includes security personnel such as off-duty police officers. Police were immediately on site after the incident to conduct their investigation, which is ongoing and includes witness statements that contradict the allegations that have been made public."

The request in the filing is that representatives of the Hill family should be granted immediate access to the property and any evidence relevant to the incident as part of their investigation.

The filing says that the bar has failed to respond to previous requests to access the premises before any alterations are made.

“By failing to respond to our requests to enter the property and begin our investigation, the owners of 77 Degrees are making a horrific situation even worse and raising serious questions about the safety of their business,” said Michelle Simpson Tuegel, who is one of the attorneys representing the Hill family. “Through this action, we are beginning the process of ensuring all relevant facts come to light and the Hill family gets justice for Christopher.”

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However, Wishnew said 77 Degrees has fully cooperated with law enforcement and Hill's representation.

"The concerns raised in the lawsuit regarding preservation of evidence were baseless and put to rest with a simple conversation between counsel for Mr. Hill’s family and me," Wishnew said.

There was a large police and EMT presence at the location around 11:30 p.m. the day Hill fell and died.

According to police, witnesses stated that Hill went over the railing of the rooftop and onto the ground. A police report said Hill landed on bar equipment, but further information was not released.

In addition to requesting a temporary restraining order, the filing alleges the railing at 77 Degrees Rooftop Bar was too low and was a dangerous risk. It also claims on the evening of the incident, the bar was very crowded, and the bar did not have enough staff, including security, to ensure the safety of the people at the restaurant.

“We are confident that a legitimate and thorough investigation will reveal that Defendants’ negligence ultimately led to Christopher’s injuries and death,” said Mike Simpson, another attorney representing the Hill family. “His family deserves nothing less than complete transparency as we begin the painful process of investigating the events leading up to this tragic incident.”

The petition and request for the restraining order was filed in Dallas County against Ginger/Degrees Dallas Group, LLC d/b/a 77 Degrees Rooftop Bar and 2107 N Henderson Avenue LLC.

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