Six Flags Over Texas says it wasn't liable for death on New Texas Giant

Posted Wednesday, October 9, 2013 11:12 PM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

Six Flags Over Texas denied liability in the July accident of a Dallas woman who fell to her death from the Texas Giant roller coaster, saying in a court filing that it complied with inspections and maintenance procedures recommended by, Gerstlauer, the German company that designed and built the ride.

Read more from The Star-Telegram.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013 11:42 PM
rollergator's avatar

Gerstlauer was not named as a defendant....?

Isn't it pretty much standard practice to sue everyone and let the courts decide who pays how much? Given the circumstances especially of what transpired before the train dispatched (and alleged concerns regarding the restraint sensor), I understand SF being sued. But not SF alone.

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, October 9, 2013 11:45 PM
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Thursday, October 10, 2013 12:55 AM
bjames's avatar

^I agree, it's definitely weird.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:43 AM

This family will win, I have a feeling. I'm not arguing this is right or wrong, by any means, but here is the thing:

1) Six Flags could have insisted upon a secondary restraint and did not.
2) Six Flags could have closed the ride or had a system installed that did not have the inconsistencies in green light go/no-go indicators. Would it have made it difficult to get the ride operating without spending a ton of extra money? Yes, but now they're going to spend that money anyway!

I'm shocked that Gerstlauer is not named as a defendant though. If they designed the restraints that failed, did not indicate another restraint was needed, and designed inconsistent electronics to ensure rider safety, why are they not involved in this suit?


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

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 1:14 PM
Jeff's avatar

It will be settled out of court. I doubt very much it's going to go to trial, because no one wants to air any dirty laundry or look worse than they already do. No one really wins, as one party has a dead relative and the other has a damaged reputation.


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

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 1:41 PM
rollergator's avatar

Considering the (LOW) number the family is asking for....surprised it hasn't settled already!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 4:05 PM

rollergator said:

Considering the (LOW) number the family is asking for....surprised it hasn't settled already!

We don't know the amount the family is asking for. The article states, "more than $1MM". That may be just a threshold amount, a box that has to be checked if damages sought are less than $1MM. The actual number could be much much larger.

As Jeff says, this will be settled. No one wins, and the legal bills just escalate. It truly becomes cheaper to settle. Both sides will posture, and behind the scenes they will come to a resolution. The bigger question is where Gerstlauer, and their umbrella/liability carrier, come into play.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 4:50 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

bunky666 said:

1) Six Flags could have insisted upon a secondary restraint and did not.

Considering the vast amount of coasters without secondary restraints that run safely every day, I don't see that as a valid argument. The seat belt they added is likely acting more like a measuring stick than a secondary restraint anyway. It's probably keeping people of a larger size off the ride.

bunky666 said:

2) Six Flags could have closed the ride or had a system installed that did not have the inconsistencies in green light go/no-go indicators.

What inconsistencies?


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Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:46 PM

Jason, I agree with you that the secondary restraints in the form of seatbelts are not really a "restraint", but I'm saying it could be used as an argument in the case against Six Flags.

In the article, it says that the electronic go/no go system was showing inconsistencies in the minimum closure point for different seats, which they could argue was the reason this woman was inadequately restrained.


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

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:05 PM
Break Trims's avatar

Of course, the statute of limitations against Gerstlauer hasn't yet run, so based on this and some initial discovery, I wouldn't be surprised if an amended Complaint including them is forthcoming.

Failing to include them in the litigation opens up a huge "empty chair" problem (based on what we know), as other have pointed out.


Parallel lines on a slow decline.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:12 PM
kpjb's avatar

bunky666 said:

In the article, it says that the electronic go/no go system was showing inconsistencies in the minimum closure point for different seats, which they could argue was the reason this woman was inadequately restrained.

That depends on what the inconsistency was. If it was erring on the safe side, then it makes no difference. For example, let's pretend these bars actually did click. If the go/no go was set to the second click and sometimes it didn't give the okay until the third or fourth, it was being inconsistent but not being unsafe.


Hi

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Friday, October 11, 2013 1:16 AM

Very true...

This is just an unfortunate situation all around, as has been said, and I'm guessing Six Flags will absolutely have to pay out.

I have no idea how the legalities work out, but could Six Flags then turn around and sue Gerstlauer?


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

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Friday, October 11, 2013 3:08 AM
bjames's avatar

rollergator said:

Considering the (LOW) number the family is asking for....surprised it hasn't settled already!

'

It's almost ridiculously low. No one's mother should die flying out of a roller coaster without that person getting millions of dollars in restitution. And I'm generally an anti-lawsuit kind of guy.

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Friday, October 11, 2013 7:21 AM
Break Trims's avatar

bunky666 said:

I have no idea how the legalities work out, but could Six Flags then turn around and sue Gerstlauer?

Yes, there area typically ways that defendants in cases can bring in other defendants, on the basis that the relief sought should more properly be sought against someone else. There could also any number of indemnification agreements in place between all these players already.

As for the demand, usually the number on the Complaint represents a minimum threshold number for jurisdictional purposes, so the actual demand might be higher (and unpublished). In Ohio, every case filed in a common pleas court is going to say $25,000 on it regardless of the actual value, because that's the jurisdictional minimum for filing in that court.


Parallel lines on a slow decline.

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