Posts tagged as:

amusement parks

Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on August 11, 2014

  • Celebrated as the “most insane amusement park ever,” New Jersey’s notorious Action Park reopens, minus some of its most extreme hazards [National Post]
  • Insurance industry study finds attorneys getting into higher share of auto crash claims [IJ]
  • Medical monitoring cases, once seen as wave of future, have not fared well in court [Steven Boranian, DDL]
  • “Florida high court’s irrational ‘rational basis’ rejection of state tort reform undermines Rule of Law” [William W. Large, Washington Legal Foundation]
  • For a sense of where tort pressure is being felt, list of litigation groups at AAJ (including newly formed groups) often provides clues;
  • Los Angeles jury finds team partly liable in $14 million negligent security award for man beaten in Dodger Stadium parking lot [AP]
  • “Perhaps this is the first of a wave of hose-entanglement cases” [Lowering the Bar, Louisiana]

“Families with autistic children have sued Walt Disney Co., alleging the company does not provide adequate access to theme park visitors with autism who have difficulty waiting in long lines for rides.” [Reuters/Chicago Tribune]

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Nanny state roundup

by Walter Olson on February 12, 2014

  • Sock puppets: U.K. and E.U. governments both fund public advocacy campaigns on paternalism themes, effectively lobbying themselves at taxpayer expense. Sounds kinda familiar [Christopher Snowdon on Institute for Economic Affairs studies]
  • Federal government, in the form of the CDC, wishes your doctor would nag you more about your drinking [Jacob Sullum, more]
  • “$10m look into games and gun violence a bust” [Rob Beschizza; Mike Rose, Gamasutra; related, Scott Shackford]
  • Assumption of risk won a round at the California Supreme Court a year ago in a case on amusement park bumper cars [S.F. Chronicle, ABA Journal, related on Disneyland teacups] J.D. Tuccille on motorcycle risks [Reason]
  • As a country Australia is known for freedom, so why’s it a leader in enacting bans? [Vivienne Crompton, IPA "Freedom Watch"]
  • “Maine’s unwise and unconstitutional ban on disclosing the alcohol content of beers” [Jonathan Adler]
  • FDA mandate on removal of nicotine could benefit head regulator’s former client [Jacob Grier] Glaxo SmithKline, Johnson & Johnson also push bans on e-cigarettes, which compete with their nicotine therapies [Tim Carney] AGs from 24 states (AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, ME, MD, MS, MT, NH, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA) write FDA urging ban on menthol in cigarettes [CSPNet] “Cigarette Sin-Tax Hike Could Boost Black Markets” [Steven Greenhut] Brendan O’Neill on secondhand smoke [Reason]

August 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 16, 2013

  • As football helmet makers come under litigation pressure, one company’s label simply advises not playing football [New York Times, ABA Journal]
  • D.C. Circuit: Obama administration has broken law by stalling action on Nevada nuclear site [AP/ABC News, In re Aiken County (PDF)]
  • Unexpected venue? Writer in National Review suggests legalizing prostitution [Charles Cooke]
  • Eight reasons New York City rent is so ridiculously high [Josh Barro]
  • “How much is a life worth?” [Kenneth Feinberg profile in National Journal]
  • Ed Markey vs. amusement parks [Elie Mystal, Above the Law]
  • How easy is it to pull real estate deed fraud? You (and the owners of the Empire State Building) might be surprised [Now I Know]

A 17-year-old born without hands is disappointed at being excluded from Sea World’s “Kraken,” but “Katie Champagne’s misery is the result of a litigious society, not heartless theme parks.” [Beth Kassab, Orlando Sentinel; error corrected on name of theme park operator, thanks commenter P. McC.]

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You’ll need to sign a really strong liability release [St. Petersburg Times]

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The best-known operator of British amusement parks has ordered its staff “to ban anyone found guilty of bumping into each other in the electric cars equipped with huge bumpers. Bemused customers who assume that the ‘no bumping sign’ is in jest are told to drive around slowly in circles rather than crash into anyone else for fear of an injury that could result in the resort being sued.” [Louise Gray, Telegraph via Free-Range Kids]

Also: California appellate court rejects assumption of risk defense and denies summary judgment to bumper car injury claim [Bill Childs, MassTort.org]

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Pruett Nance was hurt riding an all-terrain vehicle on the grounds of a no-longer-operating theme park in Arkansas, Dogpatch USA. The owners having not paid a $650,000 judgment, a judge has awarded Nance ownership of the park. [Arkansas Online via Childs, TortsProf]

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October 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 11, 2010

  • “Feds seek to halt inmate’s frequent lawsuits” [AP; J.L. Riches]
  • “SeaWorld Blasts ‘Improper’ Suit Over Trainer’s Death” [OnPoint News, earlier]
  • Does new NY law serve as road map for charities that wish to defy donor intent? [CultureGrrl]
  • Cruise ship case an example of tensions that arise when defense lawyers jump fence to join plaintiffs’ side [Julie Kay, DBR]
  • More on Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal’s “my lawsuits create jobs” stance [Bainbridge; related, New York Times Magazine (opponent MacMahon: "His business is suing people.")]
  • Australia: “Autistic student sues over test” [The Age]
  • “The most conservative court? Hardly” [Jacoby, Globe] And Justice Breyer, for one, has “rejected the notion that the U.S. Supreme Court has a pro-business slant and said the court doesn’t rule in favor of companies any more frequently than it has historically.” [Bloomberg via Adler, Volokh]
  • “Abducted by aliens? Call now for compensation” [four years ago on Overlawyered; Germany]

“A New Hampshire family who witnessed the Feb. 24 death of a killer-whale trainer at SeaWorld Orlando has sued the company in state court in Orlando, claiming their child was traumatized by the event.” [Orlando Sentinel]

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William Saletan investigates a curious genre of harassment case [Slate; more at Atlantic Wire]

May 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 5, 2010

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Cory Doctorow describes what sounds like a heavily lawyered-up recommendation process. [Flickr]

Reporting on possible legal angles arising from a veteran trainer’s death, the popular blog links to this post of ours from last year about how Florida amusement and theme parks appear to be aggressive and successful in defending against litigation.

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Because having to wait in the regular line for a ride at the amusement park might be too stressful. A note from a doctor is needed. [Daily Mail]

Disney, Universal and Busch Entertainment weren’t eager to discuss the details of their legal defense but that didn’t stop the Orlando Sentinel from developing a searchable database of 477 state and federal cases filed against the three companies over the years 2004-08. Most cases were slip-falls, very few went to trial as opposed to settling, and in general the companies seemed to enjoy a fair bit of success both at satisfying patrons before their discontents reached the stage of lawsuits and at defending against the suits if brought.

It seems the companies are also willing to utilize provisions of Florida law that go further in the direction of “loser-pays” than do the laws of many other states:

Plaintiffs who lose sometimes end up footing the theme parks’ legal bills. The theme-park companies can, and do, go after unsuccessful plaintiffs, seeking reimbursement for their legal expenses. Under Florida law, anyone who sues anyone else over a personal injury faces this possibility. If the defendant offers a settlement but the plaintiff rejects it and then loses the case (or, in some circumstances, even if the plaintiff wins the case), the defendant can demand the plaintiff pay the defendant’s legal bills.

Reports of other successful defendants pressing their rights under such provisions in Florida or elsewhere are not exactly common, leaving the question of whether 1) the theme parks are making more aggressive use of the Florida rules than other defendants, 2) plaintiffs who go to trial against theme parks are atypical in some way, or 3) other defendants use the fee-shift provisions too, but we just don’t hear about it much.

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May 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 6, 2009

  • Eeeeuw! Missouri woman’s suit says she was groped by Chuck E. Cheese mascot [Heller/OnPoint News] Parade of other bad things that can happen at theme enterprises and amusement parks [Lemondrop.com]
  • “The Doctor Will Sue You Now”: why chapter about scientist-turned-vitamin salesman and his relations with African-leader “AIDS dissidents” is missing from book by British writer Ben Goldacre [BoingBoing]
  • Just trying to make an honest living? “A former federal prosecutor who became one of New Jersey’s brashest and best-known criminal defense lawyers pleaded guilty today to helping run an exclusive Manhattan call-girl ring.” [Newark Star-Ledger via ABA Journal]
  • “Perez Hilton Sends DMCA Takedown Over Anti-Gay-Marriage Ad” [Citizen Media Law]
  • How not to get excused from jury service [Lowering the Bar; Montana, via Smoking Gun, etc.]
  • Multiplied vexation: “Stopping a serial suer” [SE Texas Record]
  • If exhortation does any good: “Judge Exhorts Class Action Lawyers to Forestall Feeding Frenzy Over Fees” [Henry Gottlieb, NJLJ]
  • More on bodega raids by rogue Philadelphia narcotics unit [Radley Balko, earlier here and here]

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“A Florida woman who claims the G-forces from a theme park ride relieve her chronic pain has sued Walt Disney World for breaching its contract with visitors by limiting her to four rides per visit on its Tower of Terror. … In a complaint filed last month in Osceola County, Fla., Denise Mooty alleges she needs the Tower of Terror for therapy rather than thrills.” Disney denies the charges and says Mooty was made to leave the park “for causing a disturbance within the presence of other guests and using foul language toward a Cast Member.” [Heller, OnPoint News]

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