TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Decapitation at Six Flags Over Georgia

Details are minimal as yet, but a boy was evidently decapitated at Six Flags Over Georgia. Reports indicate that a group of boys jumped a fence near the park's Batman coaster (an inverted coaster; see RCDB) and the boy was struck by the ride. The AJC report suggests that the decedent was attempting to jump up and grab the feet of a rider.

As you can see (picture, picture), the ride goes relatively near the ground. The second picture there also shows the fencing (six feet tall).

This is the second somewhat similar death at the Batman ride at Six Flags. In 2002, an employee was killed when he was in the restricted area below the ride. At around the same time, a boy was seriously injured on a similar ride at Alton Towers in England, again in the restricted area.


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Someone should explain to me why the Park should be able to sue the estate of this boy for the income lost by forced closing of the ride for an investigation, caused by his intentional act of violating a trespassing law.

Aside from total lawyer bias favoring litigation, rent seeking, and the plunder of productive entities. Those go without saying.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 28, 2008 4:52:05 PM

Counter it with attractive nuisance.

Posted by: CJD | Jun 28, 2008 10:23:29 PM

17 years old. No mention of special ed. Likely qualified to work there as a safety officer.

Georgia has not adopted the Restatement on Torts.

"... climbed over two 6-foot fences -- the park perimeter fence and a second one surrounding the ride -- to get to the roller coaster. Park officials said there were numerous signs warning would-be intruders of the danger," and this sign, "'Danger zone. Do not enter. Authorized personnel only'." Perhaps, they failed to put razor wire, to electrify the inner fence, and to have vicious dogs run between the fences.

Assume there was a video camera. It shows 100,000 kids down to age 3 passing by the same location over the past year, and the same has been true since the opening of the ride, years ago. A million kids have passed the location.

1) Is the injury foreseeable? Should a defendant bear liability for a 1 in a million event?

2) Did the victim violate, not just a law, but a pedestrian standard of care, even for tiny children, by his intentional act? The pedestrian standard of care is owed to oneself.

These questions apply to all negligent torts. If a camera shows 100 people sidestep an oil spill in a supermarket aisle, and one ditz falls and breaks her hip, why should we all pay higher prices for plaintiff carelessness? Why shouldn't she be sued for the loss of business as ambulance staff has to close off a section and start immediate care?

In this case, it was for intentional knucklehead behavior that cost the park revenue, and put the kibbosh on the merriment of 1000's of other guests.

I understand it would be inhumane and unseemly to sue the victim for damages. It would be like the guy in Spain who billed the parents of the boy he ran over, for his BMW body repairs, and sued them. I am not proposing a lawsuit against the victim, except for theoretical debate, and to illustrate the injustice of the case against the potential defendant.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 29, 2008 7:41:10 AM

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