$1.5 Million Verdict Upheld on Appeal for Man Injured by Ride
Posted on July 6th, 2018 by Zane Cagle
The Cagle Law Firm recently represented a client upon appeal for the injuries he sustained in 2012 at an entertainment complex in Crystal City, Mo. The client was attending a private fundraising event at Crystal City Underground, owned by Fiesta Group, when he got on a ride, called the “Human Gyroscope” or “Spaceball.” This single –seat ride inverts and rotates the rider, who should be secured in a harness, while the operator manually spins a control wheel. However, despite Fiesta Group providing training to some staff members, the ride was manned by untrained individuals. Ultimately, the client was improperly restrained and during the ride, fell head-first onto the steel flooring below the ride.
The next day, the client went to the emergency room, describing significant pain, where he was diagnosed with a spinal-joint fracture to the neck. During pre-trial negotiations, the highest figure offered was $7,000, so to secure a result the would meet his needs, the case proceeded to trial. While the first court case, unfortunately, ended with a mistrial, the St. Louis personal injury lawyers with The Cagle Law Firm were undeterred, eventually securing a jury verdict for $1.5 Million, which was more than twice the range of damages presented to the jury and found Fiesta Group 100 percent at-fault. In addition to being one of the highest value verdicts of its type in county history, this was even more significant, considering prior to trial the client had yet to undergo a required surgery for his injuries.
During Fiesta Group’s appeal, their attorneys alleged they should not be held liable at all since the trial court failed to find whether the client’s claim was barred by the assumption of risk. Essentially, they asserted that the ride itself was inherently dangerous and the client “knowingly and voluntarily” assumed the risk of riding. Unmoved by Fiesta Group’s argument, the court disagreed with their points, indicating the assumption of risk did not apply to this case and upheld the original verdict.
In a March 27, 2018, Missouri Lawyer Weekly article, Cagle Law Firm attorney Andrew Mundwiller stated, “We think the court got it right and the court of appeals got it right and so we’re happy…the case was entirely based on the client’s pain and suffering.”
The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.