Thursday, January 24, 2008
New Jersey's Action Park was an amusement facility open in various incarnations from 1978 to 1996. It was, in broad terms, designed to feature relatively extreme attractions with an unusual degree of patron control over their experiences. That combination resulted in a remarkable number of injuries and fatalities -- and all sorts of ideas for torts hypotheticals. The location now houses the much less extreme Mountain Creek Waterpark.
Among the injuries noted in various sources in its incarnation as Action Park are (a) an electrocution in a water ride; (b) head injuries (one fatal) and injuries on an alpine slide (where patrons control their speed going down a concrete trough); (c) drownings in the wave pool (nicknamed the "Grave Pool"); (d) various injuries from very fast go-karts (employees allegedly would bypass the speed governor); and (e) a variety of injuries from the park's most notorious ride, a looping waterslide. Yes, a looping waterslide:
The looping waterslide apparently almost never actually operated, though it was there for years. There have been various reports of another waterslide designer trying to make one less likely to injure.
If you're looking for examples of Bad Ideas™ combined with potential comparative fault and/or assumption of risk, some sources for you:
- The Wikipedia entry, while including a snippy note about it not complying with editorial guidelines, consolidates a lot of information from other sources. All reliable? Perhaps not, but filled with truthiness, and that's enough for exams, no?
- Weird NJ's page has some more details, including a scan of a newspaper article in which the park was sued for negligence when a lifeguard apparently hit a patron in the face with a life preserver when trying to toss the man the live preserver.
- The not-terribly-tasteful Domain of Death 3 has additional stories.
- Finally, former employees post entertaining stories at Center of the Action, a blog about their experiences.
And why not? An apparently-unavoidable-at-the-time ad that might be in the mix in any hypothetical suit: