March 29, 2009

Florida theme parks targeted by lawsuits

A total of 477 personal-injury lawsuits have been filed against the operators of central Florida theme parks in the last few years, documents show.

The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Sunday a review of lawsuit filings found that between the beginning of 2004 and the end of 2008, 101 lawsuits alleged Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando or Busch Entertainment Corp. attractions or rides were responsible for plaintiff injuries.

The remaining 376 lawsuits filed against the theme park operators range from allegations of out-of-control show animals to routine accidents, the Sentinel said of its review.

To date, none of the 101 lawsuits that blame theme part rides or attractions has gone to trial in state or federal courts.

Of those suits, 78 have either been dismissed by a judge or settled out of court. The remaining 23 suits are still pending, the Sentinel said.

The newspaper said the 101 litigation cases have included two claims of deaths caused by theme park activities, along with allegations rides or attractions caused spinal injuries, heart attacks and strokes.