Few lawsuits against Orlando parks ever go to trial

Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 9:17 AM | Contributed by ridemcoaster

Scores of lawsuits filed in the past five years have left no public record that might verify or debunk allegations that injuries were caused by the rides and attractions at the core of Central Florida's theme-park industry. An Orlando Sentinel review of 477 personal-injury lawsuits filed against the region's three big theme-park companies from the beginning of 2004 through the end of last year found 101 cases in which people say they were injured by rides or attractions owned by Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando or Busch Entertainment Corp. (which operates SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens-Tampa Bay). The rest of the suits involve everything from routine slip-and-fall accidents to allegations of show animals gone berserk.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel, as well as a follow up posted Monday.

Monday, March 30, 2009 9:37 AM
Jeff's avatar

The second article is actually a bit more balanced, and appears less to be fishing for a conspiracy.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, March 30, 2009 10:35 AM

Judging by the results of the poll in the first article, at least 468 morons have read that article.


John
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Monday, March 30, 2009 10:56 AM
ridemcoaster's avatar

Agreed.. Second article does read a bit better.. Its amazing what happens when you report accuracy.. Me thinks someone got smacked at Orlando Sentinel.


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Monday, March 30, 2009 11:02 AM

I had the same thought (just got done with the second article). Talk to a lawyer or two and they'll tell you exactly why big companies prefer to settle with sealed documents than have it all go to court. Too bad it took a second reporter to actually make that 5 minute phone call.


John
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Monday, March 30, 2009 7:12 PM

Well, which expert would you prefer to hear from in an article? Bill Childs, or Barry Novack? :)

It seems that the Sentinel publishes the lawsuit story about once or twice a year. Only the statistics are changed to reflect the current realities.

And if you want to know why parks don't release injury data? It's because if they did, guys like Novack would be tracking down each and every one of those people claiming injury, and filing even more suits. The conventional wisdom is that parks don't like negative publicity, so the inevitable injury settlement makes a nice payday for a contingency lawyer.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan, Monday, March 30, 2009 7:14 PM
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Monday, March 30, 2009 9:38 PM
rollergator's avatar

RideMan said:Well, which expert would you prefer to hear from in an article? Bill Childs, or Barry Novack? :)

^Depends...who do you consult about the economy, T. Boone Pickens or Joe T. Plumber? I mean, both have three names.... ;)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 5:00 AM

I actually read this a few days ago, and then I saw something on Dr. Phil while I was at work that made me think of these articles:

A kid named...Kevin (I think) found a new way to be the next winner for the Darwin Awards and give coasters/theme parks an even worse rep. He discovered that if he held his breath while riding coasters at his local theme park (Hard Rock Park, interestingly enough), he would pass out. They were calling it a "new twist" on the "choking game".

I know this is kind of off topic, but I keep thinking what the legal implications (if any) a park would have for something like this. After all, can't passing out on a coaster cause the body to possibly become flaccid enough to slip out of the restraints? Possibly? Plus, as the physician on the show pointed out, if the body is totally relaxed and the head is banging back and forth on the restraints, could there not be brain injury? Group that with the G's forcing blood to the feet and not allowing oxygen to the brain and heart...well, it seems like it could definitely be the cause of a death...what are the thoughts on how likely a lawsuit could occur from this? After all, this WAS all being recorded on camera as well...if the park in question is recording the entire ride and views a kid passing out multiple times on rides and continues to allow the kid on the ride, are they at fault for his stupidity when he dies? Just a thought.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 11:25 AM
rollergator's avatar

I saw that last night (I don't watch Phil, but Led Zep coaster came up while flipping channels, so I stopped). Other kids viewing the show might also consider it a good idea, so I'm not entirely sure of the wisdom of Dr. Phil *airing* such a stunt. Personally, I enjoy the rides enough even remaining conscious throughout. ;)

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 1:29 PM

What a ridiculous segment. When you hold your breath until you pass out, you regain consciousness and begin breathing immediately. There's not enough time for any of the situations you've described above to occur.

-Nate

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 2:25 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Well, that's Dr. Phil for ya. Find a really obscure/extreme example of a scenario and turn it into an hour long discussion about an "epidemic." (*rolling eyes face thingy*)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 2:39 PM
rollergator's avatar

FWIW, Nate, they had on one of the people from the show "The Doctors" (apparently Dr. Stork - he should have been an OB), and he pretty much followed the same train of thought...someone who's passed out cannot hold themselves upright. This whole "proper riding position" thing just KEEPS coming up in discussions about safety. Nonetheless, Carrie comes in with a call for reason, as is her custom (i.e., anecdotal evidence makes for poor science). :)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 2:46 PM

Sure, someone who passes out cannot maintain the "proper riding position"...for about one full second before he/she regains consciousness. :)

Let's not pretend that this is the only possible reason someone could pass out on a ride. I'm sure it happens all the time, actually! The only solution is duct tape. ;)

-Nate

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 2:52 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

rollergator said:
Nonetheless, Carrie comes in with a call for reason, as is her custom (i.e., anecdotal evidence makes for poor science). :)

As un-American as that is... ;)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, April 9, 2009 3:15 PM

I managed to nail both a graduate student and a faculty member for "anecdotal evidence" today---in the same meeting.

Awesome.


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Friday, April 10, 2009 1:38 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

rollergator said:
FWIW, Nate, they had on one of the people from the show "The Doctors"

No surprise there. Didn't Dr. Phil develop or produce that show or his son is on it or something? I know there's some connection.

Essentially just one entertainer referencing himself.

Not that is has anything to do with the conversation at hand. Just saying...

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, April 10, 2009 1:38 AM
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Friday, April 10, 2009 3:57 AM

rollergator said:
I saw that last night (I don't watch Phil, but Led Zep coaster came up while flipping channels, so I stopped). Other kids viewing the show might also consider it a good idea, so I'm not entirely sure of the wisdom of Dr. Phil *airing* such a stunt. Personally, I enjoy the rides enough even remaining conscious throughout. ;)

Rollergator, this was a concern of mine as well. I don't think it was really responsible broadcasting. Perhaps parents should sue Dr. Phil when kids start hurting themselves at amusement parks. LOL

This "proper ride position" thing I'm sure is discussed time and time as well...but this kid didn't wake up right away after he would pass out on the ride. I'm wondering how much damage someone could really do if they indeed stay passed out for the duration of the ride...and who would be responsible for the death if someone WERE to die from this...I mean, the mother of this kid knew he was doing it, and she continued to drive him to the amusement park, trusting the dumba$$ on his word that he wouldn't do it anymore...anyone think the mother would have legal recourse if the kid would pass away from his "hobby"?


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Friday, April 10, 2009 1:19 PM

Even if you didn't regain consciousness right away (which you would), there's no reason the ride would cause any harm, much less death. Do you really think restraints stop working if you pass out, or that rides are designed in a way that would kill you if you lost consciousness? I'm quite certain that companies consider that a real posibility when designing their rides and restraint systems.

-Nate

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