masstort.org

Amusement safety and such

That would be the way that AmusementSafety.org does it.  I also talked about them here.

On the other hand, they seem to have stopped purporting to rate parks, and, given the data with which they were working, that was smart.

I may write some more about it at some point, but for now, Above the Law does a reasonable job of summarizing the case (including a quote from the Sentinel that quotes me).  I don’t know that it’s accurate to say that theme park visitors are disproportionately litigious, and certainly the Sentinel’s database of claims doesn’t show that one way or another.

In late 2008, a wrongful death suit was filed against Cyclone Coasters, the operator of the Coney Island Cyclone.  I summarized the suit here.

While I haven’t (because I am too cheap) read all of the documents in the docket, a few updates since then:

  • The city’s answer initially included crossclaims against Cyclone Coasters; those have been withdrawn.
  • Discovery was scheduled to end in March of this year, with a trial, it seems, contemplated later in 2010.  The discovery deadline has since been pushed to April, but it still looks like a 2010 trial is plausible.
  • The defendants were ordered to produce a “SARC” test (measuring the forces on riders) completed by GMH Engineering in September of 2007 — about a month after the death of Mr. Shirasawa.  It was redacted but is still quite interesting; you can download the PDF here.
  • Motions are due in the next month or so as well, it seems, so I’ll try to remember to keep an eye out for summary judgment or other motions.

Of Local Interest

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Mountain Park was a classic trolley line amusement park located in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  I drive under the entryway bridge daily on my way to the law school.  It was closed twenty-plus years ago and is now a new and lovely outdoor music venue owned by the Iron Horse Entertainment Group.

Not long after we moved here, though, I got to tour the park grounds.  This was after it had been closed for years and most everything had been demolished, but before the remnants were removed.  You can see all of my pictures here (including pictures of the carousel, which was relocated and restored in the center of Holyoke).  The picture to the left is pretty much all that was left of the Mountain Flyer.

You can watch some video of the park here:

Nearly seven years ago, young Greyson Yoe died while in line for the bumper cars at the Lake County Fair.  I’ve written and collected a lot about it; you can find that material here on the old MassTort.org, including a discussion of my Capital University Law Review article that grew out of the state regulatory department’s response to the case and posts about the criminal charges that ensued.

As an update: just shy of a year ago, a trial court found the state inspectors civilly liable for his death; his family had already settled with the ride owner and the fair.  The written opinion, including a discussion of immunity, is available here (PDF).  Late last year, the trial on damages was set to begin; I’m not sure of its outcome but will try to find it.

A new site…

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I’ve been trying to clean up my blogging world, switching everything over to WordPress, which I feel pretty comfortable with these days.  I don’t know that I’ll actually do much here, but if I do, it’ll be mostly about amusement park safety.

You can get to the old site here – that’s where several years of amusement safety posts and documents are.