Micky Mouse Gets Sued

disney personal injury claim

From avvo.com 15/04/10:

Walt Disney World was taken to court this week as a result of a personal injury trial that contests the safety of one of the Disney's Hollywood Studios' most popular attractions, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

An 80-year-old Pennsylvania man, Marvin Cohen, sued the company in an Orange County court, claiming that he suffering a stroke about 12 years ago after taking a ride on the thrill ride drop tower, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports.

Cohen's personal injury attorneys will attempt to show that their client was physically active prior to his March 1998 ride on the Tower of Terror, which they claim contributed to the artery tear causing a stroke a few weeks later.

Notably, the lawyers are not claiming that a malfunction occurred in the ride, only that the functional ride itself is dangerous.

"This case is about the placement of show or entertainment over safety," Cohen's lead attorney, Barry Novack, told the jurors during opening arguments on Wednesday, April 14.

I guess this is one of those tort cases that could only occur in the US – cue the rolling eyes!   Proving sufficient causation between the claimant taking the ride and suffering stroke is certainly an interesting obstacle. 

Points of law aside, though, this case raises a broader question: are theme parks sailing dangerously close to the wind in trying to provide rides which may literally scare their visitors out of their wits?


  1. If they're not claiming the ride malfunctioned I'd like to see how they're going get past volenti non fit injuria.

    It's easy to hate Disney (and you should - they've ruined copyright) but I can't see how they're liable for this man's stroke. Then again, High School Musical...

    Better just throw the book at them to be sure.

  2. Good point, Stephen. There are a lot of obstacles to a successful claim here, IMO. But then again, when have the US allowed legal principles to stand in the way of launching a law suit?! I'm such a cynic! :-/

    And yes, High School Musical is probably reason enough to litigate. :-)


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