Family sues Paramount's Kings Island after guest struck by lightning in parking lot

Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2003 4:34 AM | Contributed by CoasterAaron

A Cincinnati lawyer has filed suit against Paramount's Kings Island on behalf of a family that says the park should have warned of an approaching storm and lightning that struck Shawn Perkins and caused significant brain damage.

Read more from The Cincinnati Post.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2003 4:36 AM
Jeff's avatar Wow. I don't even know where to start on this one. Yeah, it's tragic, but why not sue God or the nearest church instead? They likely had more to do with it than the park did.

Oh look, it appears it's going to rain. Am I going to go to my car, even though there's a chance I could be struck by lightning? Of course I will, because the chance is so remote that I don't even consider it. Chalk it up to dumb luck.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM*** This post was edited by Jeff 6/18/2003 8:52:56 AM ***

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 4:36 AM
Should they warn me about traffic on the highway too? This is completely ridiculous. Listen to the darn weather forecast; that's how you find out about impending storms.


Wednesday, June 18, 2003 4:53 AM
Well, this is a case of you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. It opens up a big can of worms if you ask me.

I suspect that King's Island has some type of it radar, lightning detection, or computer aided forcasting. Cedar Point and other amusement parks do. The question is, what to do with that information? Beyond shutting down coasters and other tall rides I don't know what would be considered "due care".

If a park were to make a public address announcement that a storm was coming I suspect the odds are far greater that a person would be injured or worse in the insuing panic that would result in people rushing the gates or jamming themselves into indoor areas. I don't know of any park across the country that could accommodate every single visitor inside in the event of a storm. I don't know of any public parks for that matter like baseball/soccer fields that could provide enough shelter. What do they do at a PGA tour event with thousands of people in the gallery?

Let's say the park gave a warning and the people all huddled in a gift shop. If that gift shop was struck by a bolt, caught on fire, and people were hurt would the park then still be held responsible?

It is a sad story but it was an "act of God" and I don't know any company or individual who can control that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 5:05 AM
I think I'm going to start suing all the sue happy lawyers who allow all the sue happy people to file thier suits because I get a headache everytime I read something like this. My favorite line of the article "Safety is not common sense." Obviously this lawyer would be the poster child for this group of people. Most people I know get out of the way of adverse weather because it usually lets you know it's coming sometime before it gets there. For anyone who doesn't understand the concept when the sky is dark and there is flashes and loud booms it means there is a storm coming. You should get out of the way. Sorry to hear it happend to this guy but I too many times witness people doing stupid things and then wanting to hold someone else responsible.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003 5:16 AM
wahoo skipper, let's take it a step further...

A huge storm blows up, the park gives a warning, and encourages people to take shelter under the roof of a ride pavilion, and the storm picks that roof up and drops it...........

Well, we've been there already, haven't we?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 5:30 AM
Its not PKI's responsibility to control the weather! I mean.. this is just silly. Good grief!
Wednesday, June 18, 2003 5:40 AM
I suspect that post traumatic stress disorder suits are next.....

susie said " the coaster scared me so much that I can't think about anything but that, and I dream of coasters at night".........

never met a coaster I didn't ride (except Junior Geminii)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 6:08 AM

That is exactly what I was thinking but I didn't say anything. Take a park like Animal Kingdom. Even if they could notify all of the people that a storm was coming, where would they all go?

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 6:34 AM
Lightning strike detection wouldn't have made a difference. The technology is fairly new. While it does track where lightning has been, I doubt if there's anywhere near enough data collected to start modeling where it's gonna strike next.

It's kinda like a slip and fall--it happened on your property, therefore we're going to sue you--but even your average Joe can see it's pretty freakin' silly.

Kudos to the keen-eyed reporter who spotted the court filing and alerted the public to this ambulance-chaser's idiocy. I'm sure this dork was looking for a quiet settlement instead of having JACKASS stamped on his forehead.


The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 6:36 AM
This is the world we live in and have created! It is really a sad commentary....The crazy part is that I know there is some jury out there that is ready to decide the case, not on the facts, but as follows---------

BIG MEAN RICH PARK----vs----poor little patron! BIG MEAN RICH PARK must pay poor little patron! Everybody seems to want something for nothing. And apparently there are juries, lawyers, judges, and politicians out there more than willing to support this type of behavior!

I'm not saying this will happen in this case, but think about it---would you really be that surprised if it does?

Give me wood or give me B&M! :-)
(sadly down to 319 and rising---after removing 10 or so double posts from my track record)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 6:42 AM
This lawyer mentioned the reason why he is suing "The park makes millions". This lawyer should be disbared. How can you control the weather? There is no way.when he made the comment, safety is not common sense, it only proved that he was in it for the money. I have been down to SFOG when it was a clear morning and raining in the afternoon with lightning. It's common sense that you don't go to your car when it's a lightning storm. Shawn Perkins must not have any common sense to begin with. The park shouldn't have made any annoucements concerning the weather because Perkins should have used what common sense he had to stay away from the parking lot when it's lightning.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:17 AM
Jeff's avatar The statistical improbability of being struck by lightning in a corn field and metal shoes is still high. You can't expect anyone to be obligated to protect you from that.

And actually, if you are in your car you're surrounded by metal and safe, provided you aren't touching any part of the outside of the car. Saw this great demonstration at Boston's science museum where they had a lightning generator. The operator was in a bird cage in the middle, and he touched the inside of it as it was struck repeatedly by electrical blasts. Pretty neat to see.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:26 AM
WOW! Parks are now responsible for "Acts of God". I think I'll run right out and sue all the parks I've ever been at...for sunburn. I'll use the "they didn't provide me with free hats, sunscreen, umbrellas...whatever" defense.

And lawyers wonder why they aren't liked. Pretty much tells you why you're paying close to $50 to visit an amusement park, doesn't it?


Scooby Doo and The Haunted Castle...MUCH more fun when you have ride partners!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:26 AM
I had the experience at one of the Disney water parks of all but being locked in a bathroom for the duration of a particularly severe storm. The plaintiff's lawyer will probably try to use this as a standard.

Of course, if we use this standard, shopping malls will have to lock the doors when a storm approaches. This will then result in law suits for kidnapping, unlawful arrest, or some such.

My sympathy goes out to the victem and his family, but I feel that the park is not to fault. Often families that sue in this type of case are not really greedy. They are in pain and facing the costs of a lifetime of care for the injured. As for the lawyers, that's often another story.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:40 AM
Well this person beat the odds of getting struck by lightning NOW they are trying to beat the odds of WINNING THE LOTTERY

Perhaps Kings Island mistakenly thought that the huge dark clouds, sounds of distant thunder, and the rain falling on their heads was warning enough that a storm was there oops guess not


Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:48 AM
The park should counter sue him for allowing his car to attract lightning.

This was not meant to be taken serious.

Please visit the small parks. We don't know what's happening behind the scenes

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:54 AM
Actually there are instruments out there to help track down the possibility of lightning. The facility I work at has the system called Thor-Guard which is also the system used on all PGA Tournament golf courses.

Thor-Guard, in lay terms, measures the ions in the air for a certain radius of the property. As the ions go up or increase activity, the system anticipates possible or probably lightning and then sets an alarm to warn patrons to seek shelter. At an open park or golf course people run for shelter or cars.

It is relatively new technology but I have been around it for 5 years and I can tell you that it is far short of perfect. The kicker is I sometimes see lightning before the alarm goes off so what do you do then?

The bottom line is that bad things happen sometimes that no one has control over. If I get attacked by a gator should I be able to sue the State of Florida for allowing gators to live in the Everglades?

This abuse of the court system has got to stop.*** This post was edited by wahoo skipper 6/18/2003 11:58:32 AM ***

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:59 AM
I seriously doubt if this flash of lightning appeared from nowhere......with no dark coulds, no thunder. Normally when there is lightning, it is noramlly evident that lightning is approaching. They chose to go to their car.

And if King's Island was aware there was lightning in the area, it is 99.9% sure that they closed the rides. Thus, they DID warn the customers of the storm. At any park, massive ride closure means upcoming storm..........and if the rides were closed due to the weather and the family chose to go to their "big metal object", whose fault is that??????????? So now it is the park's responsibility to make common sense announcements for the people who do not have any? I guess it should be the parks resposiblity to tell anyone that their shoes are untied so they do not trip.........

Our current legal system makes me sick. I feel sorry for the kid. Not only for his pain, but having a family that wants to profit from his pain.
*** This post was edited by super7 6/18/2003 12:03:10 PM ***

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 8:08 AM
By the way, a little internet research found this attorney listing.

Ebner, Drake W - Ebner & Riker Co
(513) 621-2888 1014 Vine St # 1900
Cincinnati, OH


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