Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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A ride at Disneyland stalled yesterday afternoon, stranding passengers for about two hours in sweltering heat, reported the Los Angeles Times. Passengers endured 90-degree weather on Mickey’s Fun Wheel at California Adventure until cast members helped them off, just months after technical problems forced passengers to be escorted off of the California Screamin’ roller coaster. By 6 p.m. about 30 riders had been evacuated from the 150-foot-high wheel-and they were not pleased, with one rider tweeting, ‘Stuck on @Disneyland CA ferris wheel solid 25 mins.. Anxiety not good at 100+ feet.’

How Frequently Do Rides Malfunction at Disneyland?

For a large amusement park that operates year-round, we don’t hear about rides at Disneyland malfunctioning too often. Historically, however, one case is unforgettable: In 2003, two bolts on the left guide wheel assembly of a locomotive on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride fell off, causing an axle to jam into the railroad’s ties. The locomotive then nose-dived, its rear hitting the top of the tunnel, the force snapping a tow bar connecting the locomotive to the lead passenger car, causing it to slam into the locomotive’s undercarriage. Twenty-two-year-old graphic artist Marcelo Torres was killed and 10 others were seriously injured.

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At around noon on Friday, May 17, a decorative column fell on a crowd of people at the Orange County Fairgrounds, injuring three. A feature of the Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival, the 4-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall column toppled near Gate Four, trapping one person. One person was treated at the scene, while two others were taken to an area hospital, one for traumatic injuries.

“After an accident resulting in injuries, the victims may file civil claims against the negligent party in order to receive compensation for recovery-related expenses,” explained Orange County injury lawyer James Ballidis.

California Civil Code section 1714(a) indicates that people are not only responsible for the result of their willful acts but also any injury to others caused by their want of ordinary care or skill in the management of their property or person. In cases of premises liability, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owned, leased, or controlled the property, that the defendant was negligent in caring for and maintaining the property, and that this negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

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In California, property owners are liable if they fail to maintain property that they own or if they allow a hazard to exist on their property, explains a personal injury lawyer in the state. Recently, one California couple settled with their neighbor for $6 million after a fire started on the neighbor’s property and caused the couple to suffer severe burns. The case raises questions related to California premises liability law.

Referred to as the Tea Garden, the neighbor’s property had a number of different abandoned structures and outbuildings that teenagers routinely used to start bonfires. One such fire became out of control and spread next door to the home of Lance and Carla Hoffman. Unfortunately, as the couple tried to escape, they suffered third degree burns. The Hoffmans were not the only ones to suffer adverse consequences. In total, 210 homes were destroyed and 25 people were injured due to the fire.

The Hoffmans took action. They filed a lawsuit against the teenagers who started the fire, as well as against the landlord of the home they were renting. They also filed suit against the owners of the Tea Garden.

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