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ARTICLE ID 155907

$________ GROSS - Amusement Park Negligence - Man with mild muscular dystrophy falls at indoor amusement park - Injuries to cervical spine requiring cervical fusion surgery - Fractured nose - Lower limb weakness - Need of cane or walker - Loss of high-paying job due to inability to continue taking public transportation to NYC.

Middlesex County

A birthday party had a sad ending when the parent of two guests fell and suffered serious injury at the defendant’s indoor amusement park. The plaintiff alleged that a dangerous condition was present at the amusement park in the form of an arcade game placed in the immediate area of a corner. The defendant contended that the plaintiff’s fall was due to his pre-existing muscular dystrophy condition and was not a result of a defect.

The evidence revealed that the male 48-year-old plaintiff was at the defendant’s indoor amusement park where he had taken his two sons for a child’s birthday party. One of his young sons needed to go to the bathroom and the plaintiff followed his son toward the bathroom. The plaintiff alleged that his left foot became entangled in the base of an arcade game, causing him to fall. The plaintiff alleged that the configuration of the room and the placement of the arcade game created a dangerous condition. The plaintiff claimed that when he came around the corner, he immediately encountered the arcade game before he could actually visualize it. The plaintiff presented the testimony of a professional engineer.

The plaintiff’s injury claims included a fractured nose and an injury to his neck that required a surgical cervical fusion at C3-C4 and C4-C5. The plaintiff testified that he now has lower limb weakness and must walk with the assistance of a walker or 4-pronged cane. The plaintiff maintained that he had to give up his high-paying position as an operations manager in New York City because he can no longer take public transportation. The plaintiff now has a local job with a significant cut in pay. The plaintiff presented a neurologist to testify as to his injuries.

The defendant amusement park claimed that the plaintiff did not trip over the game and contended that he was nowhere near the game when he fell. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff suffered from fascio-scapulo humeral muscular dystrophy, a mild form of MD, and that it was this condition which had, in fact, caused his fall. The defense alleged that the plaintiff had a history of falls. The defendant presented the testimony of a neurologist who stated the plaintiff’s fall was due to his pre- existing condition and that his MD condition made him more prone to falls. The plaintiff countered with eyewitness testimony that the fall had indeed occurred in the area of the arcade game.

The jury found the plaintiff 25% liable and the defendant amusement park 75% liable for the incident. They then awarded damages in the amount of $________, which was reduced by the plaintiff’s share of liability. $________ of the award was for loss of consortium, $________ was for medical bills, and the balance was for pain and suffering and disability. The defense made a motion to reduce the award and the court reduced the net award to $________ plus interest, which came to a total of $________. The parties then settled for that amount.

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