From the Sandusky Register…
Thrills sometimes lead to spills at local amusement parks and waterparks and a handful of people slipped and stumbled their way into lawsuits in 2010.
Local thrill parks generate a ton of revenue for the community and lawsuits have become part of the cost of doing business.
“Lawsuits are extremely rare in comparison to the millions of guests parks entertain each year,” said Colleen Mangone, spokesperson for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
The majority of the lawsuits stem from injuries guests sustained on rides. The amusement park association and the National Safety Council together maintain a nationwide injury reporting system for amusement rides, tracking every facility operating in the U.S.
In 2008, for instance, nearly 300 million people visited amusement parks in the U.S., according to the amusement park association.
Those visitors enjoyed 1.7 billion rides. And of all those rides, 1,343 resulted in injuries.
Representatives for Kalahari Resorts and Cedar Point declined to talk about specific cases they dealt with in 2010.
Cedar Point spokesman Robin Innes, however, did comment on safety at the park.
“Overall we have one of the best safety records,” Innes said. “Guest and employee safety is a top priority.”
More than 3 million guests visit the park every summer, enjoying more than 33 million rides, Innes said.
Not all lawsuits are injury-related. Some were sparked by corporate or management issues.
Great Wolf Lodge, Rain, Monsoon Lagoon and African Safari Wildlife Park all escaped lawsuits in 2010.
Below is a look at the lawsuits filed against Cedar Point and Kalahari this year:
Four lawsuits were filed against Cedar Point
WHO: Elizabeth Fresch
WHAT: Fresch filed a civil lawsuit opposing the sale of Cedar Fair to Apollo Global Management. The lawsuit was consolidated with the previous block of 2009 lawsuits brought by investors in an effort to obtain a higher valuation per unit.
STATUS: Closed when the class action suits were dismissed in Erie County Common Pleas Court in April after the merger fell through.
WHO: Inna and Albert Davidov
WHAT: On Aug. 19, 2008, at Cedar Point’s Soak City, the Davidovs claim Inna was struck from behind by another customer while riding on a water slide. The lawsuit, filed on March 31 this year, claims Inna suffered head, neck and back injuries. So far, the Davidovs said they’ve incurred expenses of $3,578, and they’re seeking rewards in excess of $25,000 for pain, suffering and permanent injury.
STATUS: Pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
WHO: Michael and Tiffany Wilcox
WHAT: Filed on May 18, the lawsuit claims that on Oct. 25, 2008, two large barrels swinging at a Cedar Point haunted house struck Tiffany. The collision injured her hand, wrist and arm, crushing the bones and breaking blood vessels, the suit claims. The suit is seeking damages in excess of $25,000.
STATUS. Pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
WHO: JoAnne M. Dematteo
WHAT ITS ABOUT: On July 19, Dematteo filed a lawsuit claiming she fell on July 27, 2008, while leaving an ice show at Cedar Point. She missed a concrete step. Dematteo, partially disabled because of polio, sprained her right knee and had to have surgery on a torn ligament. With surgery and rehabilitation, she says she incurred $28,215 in medical expenses, plus $7,500 in other costs.
STATUS: After a failed settlement where Dematteo sought no less than $250,000, her case is still pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Three lawsuits have been filed against Kalahari Resort
WHO: Barbara Blarek
WHAT: On Jan. 6, 2008, Blarek was walking near the children’s pool when she slipped on water, causing her to fall and twist her ankle. Her lawsuit is seeking reimbursement for medical costs of about $42,000, plus lost wages. She sued Kalahari Resorts and Kalahari Management for awards in excess of $25,000 each. She also sued Blue Care Network for coverage of all medical bills relating to the incident, but the insurance provider was dismissed from suit.
STATUS: Unknown. Records in Erie County Common Pleas Court list the case as closed, although other case files indicate it’s pending. Blarek’s attorney did not return messages seeking comment.
WHO: Daniel Wolf
WHAT: On May 19 Wolf was a rear passenger on an inner tube headed down a water slide when the tube collapsed, throwing Wolf into another person. The lawsuit alleges Wolf incurred medical expenses after suffering a broken nose, as well as injuries to his neck, back and buttocks. He’s seeking damages in excess of $25,000.
STATUS: Filed in August 2010, the lawsuit is pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
WHO: Brian Langshaw
WHAT: On Oct. 20, 2008, the lawsuit says, Langshaw was riding the Flow Rider when he broke his right foot and twisted his ankle. He needed two surgeries on his foot. He’s seeking damages in excess of $25,000.
STATUS: Filed in November 2010, the lawsuit is pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.