Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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Almost 31,000 people end up in the emergency room from injuries suffered at amusement parks and theme parks. Many are minor, some are catastrophic.  But one thing they have in common…no federal regulation.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission only oversees mobile amusements such as carnivals.  That means that fixed-site or permanent amusements (like Disney, Six Flags, Busch Gardens, Universal) are inspected or regulated by the states, if they so choose.  And in any manner the state chooses.

With the pull back of safety regulations by the government, it is expected that there will be more incidents causing more injuries.  Summer is the most active time at amusement parks, filled with out-of-school children and vacationers trying to take in some fun.  Many states regulate and inspect amusement parks, but at least six (Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) have no regulation at all. And in one case in Texas, operator Six Flags was in charge of investigating its own accident which caused the death of a woman.

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Not everyone thinks theme parks are the happiest places on earth. Parents of children might find it uncomfortable to learn that the people in the costumes at theme parks, those working on rides, and escorting guests through the resorts might be pedophiles on the prowl.

In several To Catch A Predator-style stings, police in Florida have recently arrested a number of Disney employees for child sex offenses. CNN conducted an investigation that found at least 35 Disney employees have been arrested since 2006 for sex crimes involving children. Some were caught with child porn on Disney property. One, a Disney World employee who oversaw ride repairs, was arrested when he arrived at a house thinking he was going to meet a 14 year-old girl. Instead he was arrested.

Just last month employees of Disney and Universal were arrested when they too showed up at a house planning to meet children. One was a concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who thought he was going to “fulfill a fantasy” with a 14 year-old boy.

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We love our thrill rides. Well, at least until they provide real-life thrills. These are the type of thrills that injure and kill. While amusement and theme park rides are advertised as “thrilling” and “fun,” often they prove deadly. Numerous amusement park deaths are caused by roller coaster crashes. Because there is no centralized reporting or investigative agency, most of the time the only investigation into the cause of a catastrophe is by the ride operator itself.

in 2011 there were 1200 amusement ride accidents in the U.S., with about 4% resulting in serious physical harm or death. A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported that between 1990 and 2010, 92,000 children were injured in amusement ride accidents.

This summer there have been examples of ride gone awry. Yesterday a power outage at Orlando’s Disney World stranded 120 passengers on the monorail who were stuck for hours in the un-air conditioned ride.

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In what can only be characterized as a repeat tragedy in South Florida, 28 year-old Kathleen Miskell of Connecticut was killed while riding a parasail off the coast of Pompano Beach, Florida yesterday. While her husband watched helplessly from the tandem parasail in which they were strapped, the harness holding Kathleen failed, throwing her 200 feet to the water. Ms. Miskell was pronounced dead at North Broward Medical Center a short time later.

This tragic death falls almost on the anniversary of the double tragedy involving 15 year-old Amber May White and her 16 year-old sister Crystal in 2007. Amber May was killed and Crystal suffered a severe head injury when the parasail on which they were riding disconnected from its line, throwing them into a building. This too occurred in Pompano Beach.

Mrs. Miskell died while aboard a Wave Blast Water Sports parasailing operation. The ride was operated out of the Sands Hotel in Pompano Beach. This took place by the Hillsboro Inlet.

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A daycare facility is not exactly a resort, but it also shouldn’t be a place where abuse of 6-year-olds occurs.

On April 2, a lawsuit was filed against Kiddie U., Inc, on behalf of a child who was sexually abused there at age six by an older boy, according to the suit.

The Orlando, Florida daycare facility is accused of negligence, for providing an unsupervised area where the older child had created a concealed area in the form of a “fort” in the gym room, where the abuse allegedly took place, and for misrepresentation, having told the mother that there were cameras in every room.

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A bizarre and tragic incident left an expectant mother and her unborn baby dead at a Fort Lauderdale hotel’s poolside cabana.

The 27-year-old woman visiting from Massachusetts had just entered the cabana when a car plowed into it, killing her instantly. The car’s driver reportedly lost control, hit a curb, crossed a sidewalk and continued 20 feet into the cabana. The driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was reported to be in stable condition.

An investigation is underway and charges against the driver are pending toxicology tests. A Breathalyzer and blood test were not performed immediately following the incident because the driver was injured. A myriad of legal issues could come into play, from driver negligence causing catastrophic injuries to premises liability and resort tort litigation.

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Sex-Drugs-Violence logoResort Torts are cases of civil liability for negligent or criminal acts in a resort, vacation or recreational setting. They can encompass a variety of legal cases, revealing that tourists, business travelers and locals alike are all exposed to risk while traveling, vacation, or engaging in resort or pleasure activities… including NIGHTCLUBS.

The Sun Sentinel reported this week that a nightclub in Broward County, advertised from Fort Pierce to Miami, is a regular stop for Sheriff’s deputies and city paramedics, for illegal drugs being sold and used, and for teenagers who have passed out, overdosed, or having seizures.

Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher said he receives weekly calls about the facility, from parents complaining about it. He wants the club’s electronic dance music shows at Club Cinema – which pull in more than 2,000 people – shut down.

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A shooting spree left one person dead and seven injured inside a downtown Miami nightclub. Nocturnal Nightclub, in Miami’s Park West Entertainment District, has allegedly hosted “gangster parties” and has lax security, according to neighboring club owners, reported The Miami Herald. Miami police confirmed that the club had been rented by a promoter for the evening and no metal detectors were used.

The shooting occurred inside the club around 3:00am on a Sunday in a crowded second-floor room. Investigators suspected a rival confrontation sparked the shooting and not an alcohol-induced argument. The shooter had a seven-year criminal record including burglary, grand theft, forgery, petty theft, resisting arrest and assault and battery.

Shootings, stabbings and other acts of violence have routinely occurred in the Park West Entertainment District, located just south of Interstate 395 and just west of Biscayne Boulevard. Nocturnal has reportedly been more lax on security than other clubs in the area, some say due to financial troubles.

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Seminar logo - red cropped.jpgThe Miami Beach shooting incident during Memorial Day weekend has changed the ‘foreseeability’ factor for resort crimes in the area.

Most negligent security cases turn on the issue of foreseeability: Was the incident reasonably foreseeable by the owner or business?

One of the tools used to analyze foreseeability is the crime grid, which has been held admissible at trial, and involves obtaining from a police agency a record of the service calls for the area around the address of an incident.

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Safety policies and procedures at hotels and resorts are keys to the safety of both guests and employees.

A simple light bulb change in the pool area of the Stonewall Resort and Conference Center in West Virginia resulted in a debilitating foot and ankle injury for a resort-employed electrician, who fell about 20 feet onto concrete, reported the West Virginia Record. The employee claims he received an electrical shock when changing the bulb, causing the fall from an extension ladder.

As a general rule, property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition to protect against dangers of which the owner is aware, should be aware, or might reasonably foresee.

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