$3.4 million settlement in Yo-Yo collapse
(November 23, 2010) - Attorney Robert Allard of the San Jose, California personal injury law firm Corsiglia McMahon & Allard is announcing that a lawsuit involving a near fatal 2008 amusement park accident that left 23 people injured, many of them children, has been settled for $3.375 million.
On May 16, 2008, a Yo-Yo Chair Ride crashed during the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in Angels Camp, California injuring 21 children. The California Department of Industrial Relations determined that the ride was not properly maintained by its owner. Investigators found a damaged washer that had failed to hold a pair of nuts in place, which resulted in the cap screws becoming unfastened and the swing arms collapsing on the Yo-Yo Chair Ride.
Allard’s investigation revealed that the ride manufacturer, Chance Rides, was well aware of at least one prior similar incident of a single-point-failure (lock ring and associated lock nuts) that existed in the design of the Yo-Yo ride, yet failed to properly warn owners/operators of the proper corrective measures that would fix the problem and avoid another catastrophic failure of its amusement ride.
As a result of pressure exerted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Chance Rides ordered all owners of the defective Yo-Yo Rides to allow it to install a metal plate over the cap screws and prevent the unscrewing of the cap-screws. Those cap screws are the ones that failed in both Calaveras County and Six Flags over Texas in March 2006 injuring nine people.
“This is a lesson to all amusement ride designers that they should not wait for mandatory safety mandates but rather take proactive, precautionary and preventative measures to avoid accidents from occurring since, as we have seen in this case, the consequences are potentially disastrous” said attorney Robert Allard.
CPSC has jurisdiction over "portable" amusement rides like the one in Calaveras County but no jurisdiction over "permanent" rides like the ones at Six Flags over Texas. But as a result of the action taken by CPSC on the Calaveras County case, Chance was pressured into making the safety change. The requirement to make the safety change on ALL operating YO-YO Rides also set a requirement for annual inspections.
The California Department of Industrial Relations report also said that the ride's owner, Brass Ring Amusements, operated the ride without the required inspections, certifications and documentation that was needed to make sure the ride was safe. Harry Mason, who did business as Midway of Fun, was the owner/operator of the Yo-Yo amusement ride at the time of the incident and according to the State was negligent for not properly maintaining the ride.
“One thing that we hope is taken away from this lawsuit is that both ride owners and inspectors will be more diligent in carrying out inspections. The safety of all persons and particularly children should mandate that nothing is held back from completing a thorough of an inspection as possible,” added Allard.
Allard represented the parents and their five young children in this case. All of the children suffered both physical and emotional injuries while the parents had to witness their five children screaming out in pain as the kids were dragged through the dirt and gravel, and slammed into the metal fencing during this horrific incident.
The most seriously injured child in this incident suffered permanent brain damage along with multiple orthopedic injuries. The permanent neurocognitive impairments resulted in the child’s placement in special education, as well as the need for future care and treatment she will require to address her permanent injuries.
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