Woman sues Six Flags Great Adventure after being denied ride over disability

Posted Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:05 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A New Jersey woman has filed a discrimination law suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination against Six Flags Great Adventure. She was denied a ride on the El Toro roller coaster, she said, because she has only one arm and three fingers. She was later offered to ride, but declined.

Read more and see video from KYW/Philadelphia.

Thursday, January 15, 2015 3:44 PM

The damages in this case would undoubtedly be minimal, especially as the plaintiff was in fact offered the opportunity to ride. Although it would appear that the ride ops made a mistake insofar as she meets the criteria of having one fully formed arm with three fingers, that mistake was rectified by the folks in Guest Relations. OK, so she was a victim of discrimination but I don't know many lawyers who would take on a case like this.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 4:08 PM

Are you a lawyer?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 4:31 PM

I'm venturing a guess here, but I'm going to say that there will be several lawyers foaming at the mouth on this one.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 4:32 PM

I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on an internet roller coaster enthusiast forum.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 5:40 PM

I'm not a lawyer; I'm a paralegal working with a bunch of lawyers.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:29 PM

So discrimination, by the law, is OK if you say, "Just kidding!" afterward?

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Friday, January 16, 2015 9:31 AM

Was it discrimination, though? If she only has 3 fingers, does that count as a fully formed appendage?

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Friday, January 16, 2015 11:36 AM

Seems to me the problem is you have ride ops (who are often times kids just trying to make some money for the summer) making these decisions. And in a context where they are trying to get people through lines and on and off rides as quickly as they can. If I am an owner/management of a park, I would want the ride ops to err on the side of caution. Whatever amounts they may pay out in connection with what happened here likely will be small in comparison to what they would have to pay if someone who should not have been permitted to ride, rides and gets seriously hurt.

Some training with respect to treating customers may help. How you handle the situation can help. Woman in this case says she would be ok if she wasn't able to ride but wanted to be treated with more dignity. Not sure exactly what was said and done but maybe her response would have been different had the situation been handled differently even if that didn't mean she could ride. Wouldn't surprise me though that not being allowed to ride was the big part and how it was handled wouldn't really have mattered. And in terms of handling the situation, we are talking again about mostly kids in a summer job who aren't making big $$.

Maybe parks should take an approach similar to what they do with official height measurements? People who are disabled can stop by guest services and have someone with experience and training in ride safety make a determination by looking at the disability (without the time pressure of a fully loaded train waiting to dispatch) as to which rides the customer can ride. Give them a wristband, certificate or other official indication which can be shown to ride ops during the customer's visit to avoid these issues. Customer won't have to deal with embarrassment, disappointment and wasted time being turned away from rides and park has more comfort that people with disabilities can ride safely.

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Friday, January 16, 2015 4:25 PM

Could've sworn I had seen Gonch play one on TV.

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