Posted Friday, November 27, 2015 10:52 AM | Contributed by Jeff
The Georgia Court of Appeals has thrown out a $35 million jury award and ordered a new trial in a lawsuit stemming from the vicious beating of a Marietta teenager after he left Six Flags Over Georgia. Joshua Martin, 19 at the time, suffered brain damage and spent seven days in a coma after being punched and kicked by four seasonal employees at the park on July 3, 2007. Six years later, a Cobb County jury awarded Martin $35 million in damages -- $32.2 million to be paid by Six Flags and $2.8 million by the four employees who were convicted of the assault. In its 10-2 decision, the appeals court found that the jury was justified in finding Six Flags liable for the assault on Martin.
Read more from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
I really don't like the way that case law rationalizes this. If you get involved, you set precedent for liability. That's essentially what the court is saying, because security was involved outside of the park, they're a party to what goes on there. Presumably it's a public right-of-way, where the attack took place. It's troubling to me that anyone other than the police are responsible for the safety there.
Jeff, I am glad that that judgment was thrown out in favor of Six Flags.
While the verdict was thrown out and there will be a re-trial, the appeals court did not find in favor of Six Flags. The verdict was reversed because of a technicality, apparently some essential information was not provided to the jurors. "The appeals court found that the jury was justified in finding Six Flags liable for the assault on Martin." If it wasn't for that technicality, Six Flags would have still been on the hook for their damages. Six Flags's best hope is that the new jury is more sympathetic to their arguments.Last edited by Sagretti, Friday, November 27, 2015 8:34 PM
Yeah, the majority for the appeals court still said it thinks it's reasonable for Six Flags to be held liable for the attack. Yeah, I get they might have been employees, but it's still pretty weird.
It's a tough call. If Six Flags had signs directing people to the busses, I don't see how that's liability, but if their security team is patrolling the same bus stops, makes it a little trickier. Also, I'm still not understanding how Six Flags can hire gang members, have trouble with gang member employees, and not fire them immediately and kick them out of the park. This wouldn't have prevented the violence outside of the park though, so I'm not sure how Six Flags has liability for that just because their employees jumped the guy. That's like if I work at Target and then jump someone at Panera Bread down the street. I guess I'd have to hear all the arguments to totally understand the logic because I don't get how this guy is Six Flags' responsibility. I also don't get how if the guy needs a 7 million dollar amount for his care why he's getting over 30 million. I get pain and suffering and all, but the fine, double it to 14 million. Really seems frivolous.
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