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ARTICLE ID 38699

Alleged dangerous stairs at theme park - Fall to cement - Claimed failure to pad area - Facial scarring to minor plaintiff.

Philadelphia County

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant theme park, Sesame Place, allowed a dangerous condition on its premises to exist in the form of stairs leading to a "big bird" head with no padding on the concrete below. The minor plaintiff, a five-year-old boy at the time, fell from the steps and sustained injuries. The defendant argued that the condition was not dangerous and that it was unreasonable to expect every area in the park to be padded.

Evidence established that the minor plaintiff was playing on a a large head of a Sesame Street character "big bird," which was designed for photographs at the theme park. The model contained five large steps. The child was on the fourth step when he fell and struck his head on the cement below.

The plaintiff’s expert engineer/playground safety expert testified that the stairs were dangerous and the defendant should have installed padding below the stairs for safety. The minor plaintiff received stitches and was left with a permanent scar near the hairline.

The defendant’s engineer/playground safety expert testified that the stairs were not dangerous and there was no reason to prevent children from playing on them. This expert also opined that the stairs met all applicable building codes and it would be p 7 3 unreasonable to expect padding on every surface in the park. The defense also argued that the minor plaintiff’s scarring was minimal.

The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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