Cedar Point sued in Dragster incident

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Two people want money for "pain and suffering" after the cable on Top Thrill Dragster separated and sent bits into riders last summer.

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Link: PointBuzz

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Not liking a movie and getting cut by debris is not exactly a fair comparison.

If I went to the movie theater, bought a box of popcorn, and it had metal shards from the popcorn maker in it that cut me while I was swallowing...THEN I'd be upset and want compensation. Further...if that popcorn machine had been having problems for over a year and the movie theater knew these metal shards were being produced I'd expect a little more as they ignored the problem to sell more popcorn.

I hate, hate, hate frivolous lawsuits. If you spill hot coffee on yourself it is your own damn fault. But, I think a case can be made here. I don't think these yahoos should get millions but I don't think getting hit by metal debris is an inherent risk in riding a rollercoaster. Anyone here ever been hit by metal debris before? I've ridden coasters thousands of times and never been it by wood or metal debris.

Edit: Ok, I shouldn't say CP ignored the problem because they didn't. But I think their zest to keep the new ride open as much as possible may have played a role in this.*** This post was edited by wahoo skipper 2/16/2005 9:23:42 AM ***

I'm surprised CP let this go to trial. They must have wanted some ridiculous settlement.

Hell, Playette once got $300 for uck in the middle of a McDonalds shake. Did she hire a lawyer? File a lawsuit? Nope. Just called a consumer hotline to complain.


Impulse-ive, your logic does not make sense. There should be no inherent danger of getting hit by metal shards when riding a coaster. Now, the incident with Fabio is different as that park had no controll over the bird, but CP knew that they were having problems with the cable snapping. I think it was only a matter of time before something like this happened with the cable. I don't agree with frivilous law suits, but this is not the case.
Well if you're all-knowing and knew it was only a matter of time before metal shards got tossed in the path of the train, then why didin't you pipe up and tell CP? If I remember right, everyone said right after this "who would have ever thought that could happen?"

There is inherent danger. There's inherent danger of getting nailed with plastic from wheels, there's inherent danger of getting smacked with spew, there's inherent danger of getting nailed with paint chips. There's moving parts, going at high speed and you're flying past it - you honestly expect that to be 100% safe? If this had happened ten, twenty times in the life of the ride, maybe I could see a suit. One incident? Forget about it.

Again, I have never, ever been hit by anything while riding a coaster. I don't expect to be 100% safe. In fact, I don't ride portable rides because I am concerned for my safety.

But, the metal shards had been found on multiple occasions. Had anyone been hit by them before? Not that we know. But, I don't think it is a huge leap to imagine they might fly off a fraying cable and hit patrons.

I'm a CP fanboy, I suppose, but sometimes the park needs to take responsibility. Nobody expects to get off a rollercoaster bloody.

Can we get any sense of proportion in this thread (I'm aware some of you have been reasonable)? These people allegedly had a little blood indeed. They were treated and then received compensation in the form of exit passes. They agreed to the said compensation and CHOSE to return to the park THE SAME DAY.

And you expect reasonable-minded people to believe that this is worth $50,000???

Tiny cuts that are so insignificant that the participants were able to return to the park are not worth $50,000. A hangnail draws blood. Is a hangnail worth thousands?

Yes the park is wrong, and yes this should not have happened. However, get some perspective folks. $50,000 is a joke based upon the information that has been presented to date.

It is the ridiculous financial compensation that makes this suit so laughable. If they were asking for $50 instead of $50,000, then I would not have a beef. I’m sure the park is well aware that IF they ever pay out $50,000 for such insignificant injury and damage, then they will NEVER see an end to the suits.

P.S. During one of the Coastermania’s I cut my leg on an exposed piece of metal while getting on the Blue Streak. How much should I sue for?

Hey, I have never said they should win nor have I said what amount they should get. In fact, I am not sure they can win given what some say are the circumstances regarding them staying in the park the rest of the day.

But, I think CP left themselves open to this type of thing with the way they handled the entire situation over the two years. None of us wanted to see the ride closed but that may have been the right course of action until it was resolved completely. In fact, I'm sure if we went back and looked at the posts I said they should close it until they were absolutely sure the problems were fixed.

Oh, and one more thing: Reasonable minded people often don't make up juries. Witness: The OJ Simpson case.

This is all likely an attempt to get Cedar Fair to settle out of court. If they have the documentation to support their version of the facts then maybe they will win. But, at what cost?

The day this story hit the news I was disappointed with the park. This was bush-league and should have never happened. It is something I'd expect from a Six Flags park.

Even if money never exchanges hands I hope it is a lesson they take heed to an never allow to happen again. Keeping your new ride up and running is important. Keeping your guests safe is more important.

Count me as another CP fanboy that thinks the park will probably shoulder at least some share of blame here.
$50,000 and riding rides the same day AFTER the injury...

My bad, this really makes sense...

Right Jeffrey - they were SO traumatized and suffered so greatly and in so much pain that they went right back out and kept riding things ...
janfrederick's avatar
Jeffrey, the park should sue you for getting blood on their ride. ;)
Obviously some of you need to get a dictionary.

Suffering according to the American Heritage Dictionary is "An instance of pain or distress. "

Pain according to the same dictionary is "An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury."

So the question is, did they have an instance of pain on the ride that was, by all accounts, not one that should be expected or forseen by the average rider.

The answer is, yes, no matter what the CP fanboys might say. Nobody in the general public could forsee cable shards flying into riders. Heck, CP might not have even thought of that (although there have been reports that shards had been found prior to this incident). But even if CP had no prior knowledge, they are still liable for the injury because it was a fault of their product that the riders were using wholly within the rules that CP laid out - they were not goofing around or acting in an unsafe manner.

Actually, they were breaking CP rules - they had their arms in the air.
and you know that, how?

Besides, how would that affect needle-like wire spraying into their face and ears?

ldiesman said: How much you want to bet that these two will be on another roller coaster this summer? Mental stress would mean they could never enjoy riding another roller coaster without fear of this event.

There are two things significantly wrong with that statement. First, the do you wanna bet part, is an assumption, something nobody can use as evidence in a courtroom. Second, the mental stress definition, WAY off. I was in a serious car accident a year and a half ago. I consider myself as having endured mental stress, that doesn't mean I don't ever enjoy driving anymore and that I fear for my life everytime I get behind the wheel.

Many have said: They returned to the park after the incident the same day, that can't be suffering.

Back to my car accident story. I recovered fully from my car accident and was released from the physicians care some 9 months afterward. For some 3 months I was as normal as I was before the accident, but since then, I have been suffering from persistent back aches and other accident related injuries. Many of the most serious injuries one can endure are ones that are not completely apparent at first.

Frivolous law suits, everybody thinks they are ridiculous except the people who file them, but who knows better than those people? I love how everybody on this board is an engineer, investigator, doctor, detective, lawyer, judge, and common sense philosopher all rolled into one. The fact of the matter is, you just don't know all the aspects of it, and that is why it is going to court...where all of those above occupations will be involved before any judgments are passed. Let's not freak out before they get the money, and if they do, then it was decided under the most sophisticated of circumstances, and usually shouldn't be disputed.

Side note: The McDonald's coffee incident. This case was HUGE, and seemingly nobody realizes the extent of it. The truth is a 79-year-old woman was served coffee from McDonald's that was considerably above the reccommended temperature. She happened to spill some of it out of the ridiculously flimsy cup into her inner thigh and groin. Her frail skin gave way leaving her with 3RD DEGREE BURNS! She spent EIGHT days in the hospital and went through SEVERAL surgeries to graft skin into her GROIN. She is permanently disabled from the ordeal and the sad truth is, there were hundreds of reported incidents of the flimsy cups before somebody finally sued. Now, I don't know about you seemingly know-it-alls about frivolous lawsuits, but if I went through the hell of having my groin burned to the 3rd degree and having several skin grafts to repair it while spending 8 days in the hospital, I'd sue for A LOT especially since McDonalds was aware of problems with the cups. It should have never happened, and McDonalds paid the price for it.

Afterward, McDonalds purchased sturdier cups with a warning on the side "Coffee is HOT!" May sound ridiculous, but why it wasn't on there after the nearly 700 complaints before this extreme incident, they were asking for it. These cases are sometimes most efficient in protecting consumers.

For $50,000 I would like to sign up for this pain and suffering. I’ll even let you bleeding hearts throw darts and spray dog crap on me after I take the messy oil and painful shards. In fact I bet there are a lot of people who would be willing to endure much worse for $50,000. Have you ever seen Fear Factor?

Again, nobody is questioning CP’s fault/liability in this case. What we are questioning is $50,000… Of course the park should compensate the plaintiffs. In my opinion, some exit passes and maybe a free season pass seems just about right.

You can bring in all sorts of personal stories of pain and anguish; it still seems like a simple case of the requested punishment not fitting the crime. Nothing more and nothing less…

AGAIN---does $50,000 seem reasonable based upon the known information? This is really the only question to be debated as I think everyone agrees CP is responsible.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

...McDonalds purchased sturdier cups with a warning on the side "Coffee is HOT!" May sound ridiculous, but...

I think that speaks volumes about the people initiating lawsuits like this. They need to be told coffee is served hot.

Maybe someone needs to tell amusement park patrons that rides are as safe as they can be, but sometimes freak accidents happen. By riding the ride, you accept the risk, hwever slim, of being involved in such an incident. I always though it was assumed and understood, but hey, if you have to tell people coffee is hot...

janfrederick's avatar
Now now Jeffrey, calling someone a bleeding heart won't win your argument no matter how valid it is (and yes, I believe that $50,000 for what they went through seems extremely excessive).

The whole bleeding heart thing is so tired. If any politcal faction should be called bleeding hearts, it should be the far right (Waaaa, government is too big! Waaa, I don't wanna pay taxes! Waaa, fire the malcontents, get rid of everyone's right to sue because, waaaa, it makes me MAD!)

Sorry, but you had it coming! ;)

Sorry, poor choice of words. I honestly was not even thinking about "bleeding heart" in terms of politics and you crazy liberals who hang out here... :-)

I just thought people were getting way to sentimental (bleeding hearts) over the alleged pain and suffering the plaintiffs have endured. We’re not talking about lava coffee, skin grafts, and 3rd degree burns here…

I apologize to any of you easily offended lefties... :-)

First of all CP is not being sued, their insurance company is, and every case goes to court. It will probably take about 7-9 years before they see any money. I definetly would sue. Lets face it, it was CPs fault. What if it were your children that got hurt, you would sue too.

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