Defense Sends Personal Injury Lawsuit Down Amusement Park’s Lazy River
Our attorneys obtained summary judgment relief on behalf of an amusements park in a lawsuit for alleged personal injury sustained at the park’s lazy river attraction. The plaintiff and his family were business invitees at our client’s amusement and water park. The plaintiff alleged he sustained injury when he attempted to board an inner tube on the lazy river attraction, which was staffed by certified lifeguards. The plaintiff claimed that the lifeguards negligently failed to assist and/or help him get onto the inner tube and were further negligent for failing to observe him while he attempted to do so. As a result of the lifeguards’ alleged negligence, the plaintiff claimed his inner tube flipped backwards, resulting in his head striking the floor of the shallow watercourse.
During depositions, the plaintiff and his wife conceded that the extent of the lifeguards' assistance to visitors of the attraction was gathering vacant inner tubes and pushing them towards people waiting in line. Moreover, the plaintiff testified he made one initial unsuccessful attempt to climb on an inner tube before ultimately "over engineering it" on his second attempt, which caused the inner tube to flip backwards. The court agreed that under the "no-duty" rule, the lifeguards did not owe the plaintiff a duty because the alleged risks associated with climbing onto an inner tube in the lazy river attraction were common, inherent, expected or frequent risks associated with the activity. Furthermore, the plaintiff was unable to satisfy an exception to the no duty rule because he could not prove the employees deviated from an established custom or duty. The trial court's decision granting summary judgment and dismissing the plaintiff's claims, with prejudice, was ultimately affirmed on appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.