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ARTICLE ID 191496

DEFENDANT’S – AMUSEMENT PARK NEGLIGENCE – RIDE STOPS WITH PLAINTIFF IN UPSIDE DOWN POSITION – ALLEGED AGGRAVATION OF PREEXISTING CERVICAL OSTEOARTHRITIS – CERVICAL FUSION AND DISCECTOMY PERFORMED – DAMAGES/CAUSATION ONLY.

Allegheny County, PA

The plaintiff was a 43-year-old woman who was riding the “King Kahuna” ride at the defendant’s Kennywood amusement park in West Miflin, Pennsylvania in July of ________. The plaintiff claimed that the ride stopped with her in an upside down position, causing injuries as a result of being pressed against the harness and other ride patrons. The defendant stipulated negligence regarding the malfunction of the ride; however, the defendant maintained that the incident did not cause injury to the plaintiff.

Evidence showed that on July 5, ________, the plaintiff was riding the 40 seat ride which rotates and spins at heights of 40 feet in the air. The ride is designed with a gondola platform with two long seat rows attached to two arms. While the arms rotate, the gondola itself rotates freely so riders are flung, spun, and hung upside down before the ride returns to rest. At the time in question, instead of stopping in the upright position, the ride ended with the plaintiff in the upside down position.

The plaintiff claimed that the harness of the ride and her upside down position, which lasted for some 15 minutes, caused excessive pressure on her neck and spine. The plaintiff claimed she experienced immediate numbness in her left arm and was unable to move her neck. The plaintiff’s neurosurgeon testified that the incident aggravated the plaintiff’s preexisting osteoarthritis of the cervical spine. The plaintiff underwent a cervical fusion and discectomy in September of ________, which she claimed was necessitated as a result of the ride incident.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff was examined by the park’s medical staff who found that she did not exhibit evidence of acute injury after the incident. The defendant’s neurosurgeon testified that the plaintiff’s symptoms and need for surgery was related to preexisting cervical arthritis and cervical stenosis. This expert opined that the plaintiff would have required cervical surgery regardless of the ride incident.

The plaintiff ultimately returned to her employment as a customer service representative. She sought $________ in past medical expenses and approximately $________ in past loss of wages. The plaintiff offered no evidence of future wage loss at trial.The jury found that the defendant’s negligence was not a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff and a defense verdict was entered.

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