Parents sue Cypress Gardens following accident

Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 9:28 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The parents of a 13-year-old boy who fell from a roller coaster ride last month at Cypress Gardens Adventure Park are suing the amusement theme park for negligence. The lawsuit filed Friday by Orlando lawyer Carlos R. DiezArguelles says the boy is disabled from the fall and seeks damages in excess of $15,000. Local officials cleared the park of any wrong doing.

Read more from The Ledger.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 9:41 AM
Maybe the parents were negligent. I mean, the ride has restraints, and I seem to recall pictures of the train with something along the lines of "remain seated at all times" posted at each row.
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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 9:55 AM
What a shock, that didn't take long.
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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 10:17 AM
I’m sure there are varied degrees of opinions, but the same line of argument can be used in this case that is being used to defend/justify the million dollar judgment against Six Flags (see a few threads down). The park is at least partially negligent…no? What reasonable person/business associated with amusement park industries does not know about people slipping out of lap bar type restraints. I don’t need to list them for this audience. So the park knowingly continued to operate a ride that they knew had potential for somebody to fall out of and be hurt/killed. Right there is your partial liability.

Now we all probably agree that the rider was responsible (partially) because of his behavior. I can only assume the rider indeed broke the law by standing up, much like the person who threw the rock at Six Flags was partially responsible! Yet we see that Six Flags is on the hook for millions in damages…AND we see that many in the coaster community agree with the court action under the justification of partial liability. You see where this is going…?

Anyhow, Cypress Gardens best settle or they will risk another jury looking for payback from big, mean, and most importantly, rich amusement park. This is how our system works now! Some, amazingly, seem ok with it. Nobody is 100% responsible for their own actions if there is a big money-laden company available that can take even a tiny percentage of the blame.

As an aside, I am amazed that every ride does not currently have overhead restraints. It is simply not worth risking millions of dollars in liability. Any park that continues to run their coasters without a fail-proof means of preventing manipulated exiting is asking for it. Since the park is now responsible for the behaviors of criminals (which is what this kid apparently was) and their behaviors, it only stands to reason that all parks must immediately put overhead restraints (or similar) on all of their rides to prevent criminals for freeing themselves from the vehicles and risk injury to themselves and others. I mean, so many have lambasted Six Flags for not putting a barrier fence to stop the criminal rock throwing…so what is the difference here? Cypress Gardens is apparently still running this ride…knowing full well that somebody could wiggle out and fall off the train, or worse yet fall into the car behind them and injure others! They have no choice but to change the design to prevent the criminals from injuring themselves or others. Thank god, in this case, this kid did not land on another innocent rider.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 10:48 AM
How are your fingers Jeffrey? ;)

The park has witnesses and the state inspectors cleared the ride. I think the case will be *thrown out* (I didn't intent for this to be a pun, it just came out that way). ;)

It all boils down to whether the park made a reasonable effort to ensure guest safety. Personally, I think covering up the rocks and increasing patrols was reasonable. Come on, if you are hurt by another guest in a park, is it really the parks fault?

And how do we fix this Jeffrey? I wouldn't suppose you think we should throw out the entire system because of perceived abuse? Don't judges have the ability to throw out frivilous cases? Or does the law make it too difficult?

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 11:09 AM
At the rate we are going we'll be going to amusement parks to look at rides and attractions covered in bubble wrap and NOT moving one single millimeter!

Are there people out there that take responsibility for themselves anymore?

Oh right.

When you admit a mistake suddenly you are sub-human, a liar, not fit for a job, disgraceful, etc. It takes a far bigger person to admit screwup.

The lawyer for this case can suck it.

~Rob Willi

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 11:26 AM
The fix...

I've thought about this! If King Jeffrey were in charge the world would be a better place, every park would have 2-3 more woodies, and there would be tort reform!

In civil tort cases such as this… The jury would have to decide who is 51% responsible or more. That person, or business would then be the party at fault. In a rare %50-%50 case we would split the difference. The party with 49% or less fault gets to run free with stern warning that King Jeffrey is looking out for them. I would allow non-monetary penalties for the 49% and less such as the warning signs I talked about earlier.

Something like "Six Flags has been found 3% responsible in an unfortunate rock throwing incident in which a thug human being threw a rock at a Six Flags Coaster. Six Flag’s failed to build a fence to prevent this thug from being a thug! The thug human being was found 97% responsible for the dastardly act!”

We could put this sign at he front gate and in front of every coaster at every park in the chain for a year! This way the public is educated. Six Flags gets a little deserved bad PR! But the truly guilty party pays the piper.

The problem with the current system is that 3% responsibility can add up to a lot of money for the rich company while tort lawyers does not even go after the 97% responsible thug, as there is no money to gain!

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 11:27 AM
I'm sure there's lots of people who see nothing wrong with this case.

I'm also sure the people who have that view are mentally retarded (I'm sorry, that was rude, it's cognitively impaired) also.

The parents need to step back and realized they raised an idiot. Maybe they're idiots themselves, heck they probably are. They're asking for $15,000. That's not much, the park will probably settle for half that and call it good.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 12:21 PM

They're asking for $15,000. That's not much

That should cover parking, admission, food, drinks, minimal souvineers for a family of four at some of your larger parks.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 12:32 PM
If you stand up on a coaster and get hurt, you've disobeyed numerous warning signs and gone out of your way to defeat the restraints on the ride.

Throw this one out of court. The park made every reasonable effort to keep this person safe, short of having an employee sit next to him and hold him down during the entire ride.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 1:07 PM
Although I think it's still wrong, it's quite possible the family is doing this as a last resort to pay for the expensive medical costs of "fixing" their "broken" child. Under the law, they have a chance to put at least partial blame on the park and in return get a little money out of it to take care of the kid's injuries. If this wasn't the case, I'd guess they'd be looking for much more than $15k.
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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 1:54 PM
Agreed, Acoustic Viscosity. $15,000 is nothing in the world of lawsuits. Probably just for medical expenses. I imagine a quick settlement if that's all they're asking for.

I wonder if major parks have worked with legal teams to explore all these issues ahead of time... It's the first thing I'd want to do if I were running a park.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 1:59 PM
Let's see. $500 for an xray and $14,500 for the lawyer. ;)
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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 2:06 PM
This lawsuit is just as dumb as the lawsuit that was settled by a stupid jury in OH.

As for tort reform, if one side loses they should have to pay all the costs of the winning side, and if theloser/accuser himself cant pay. then make the attorney pony up the cash and before trial make the accuser show proof that they can pay the bill if the lose..

Hold the people who are wrong responsbile and not just a company because they have deep pockets.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 3:02 PM
Kids think that they are invincible. I have seen kids turn around with their knees on the seat a lot of times on lap bar only coasters. Every time I take a kid to a park, I take time to read the safety signs with them, and I tell them to listen to the ride opperators.

I think the parents should be sued for not teaching their kid how to properly ride.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 3:10 PM
I think in cases like this where a person completely disregarded his own safety the the amusement park could sue the family for negligence. They may have lost revenue due to a tarnished reputation for what the person did. Should they not be held liable for that lost revenue?

I like Ohio's law that makes you fully responsible for disobeying park rules. That should be a law everywhere, in my opionion.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 3:11 PM

In addition to the boy's bodily injuries, the lawsuit states Junco and Cota experienced mental anguish and pain from witnessing their son's "traumatic injury."

Sooo, how much of this is mental anguish? C'mon... that is one of the most frivilous excuses to try & ween money from anyone. Mental anguish.

I don't care if it's 50 bucks... the park should fight back not because of the money, but because of the principle of the situation. The rider was at fault, and not the park's ride-operators, not the train, not the coaster, not even the park itself... there is a cetain amount of common-sense when riding rollercoasters, and at 13... you should have the mental capacity to realize these common sense rules (or the actual ones posted)... otherwise, you should be riding with a responsible adult who can ensure that you'll be strapped tight into the seat to prevent any possible chances of falling out.

**sigh**

America... the only country that'll sue over just about anything & everything... because it's all about the almighty dollar.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 6:25 PM
I'm wondering...

What is the available evidence that has to be protected, and is the reason for the suit being filed so quickly? What is the dangerous condition deficiency that a reasonable inspection would have revealed? How can you hold a weeklong bedside vigil AND consult with an attorney simultaneously?

I experience mental pain and anguish every time I read about one of these frivolous suits. Who can I sue?

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 7:15 PM
Seriously, The park should counter sue imediately for bad press resulting from the kids malicious actions.
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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 7:43 PM
Absolutely agree Nungester. I wish cases like this were handled the way they take care of this kind of crap over in Europe. If they lose the case, they pay all of the court fees(Something to this extent). Basically scare the stupidity out of them before it gets into a court room.

As far as the countersuit goes, I say sue the family for $15,000 for the mental anguish that the ride operator is still suffering. Seeing such a young defenseless child; who never got the proper upbringing from his parents, to properly read the warning signs before getting on such a ride as Triple Hurricane, has taken a serious mental toll on the poor guy.He now can no longer perform his job, that he needs to feed his family. On these grounds alone, I say SUE THE FAMILY!

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