Amusement Park Seeks Civil Suit Dismissal

OCEAN CITY — Trimper’s Rides is seeking the dismissal of a $1 million civil suit filed in late July that alleges negligence against the iconic Boardwalk amusement park following a June 2012 incident when a child was allegedly run over and dragged by a ride.

On July 22, a Virginia family filed suit in U.S. District Court against Trimper’s and its associated companies alleging negligence during a June 2012 incident during which a child was allegedly hit by a miniature vehicle of the Hampton I ride at the Boardwalk amusement park and slammed to the floor, causing a fracture to his skull. The suit seeks $1 million in damages for current and future medical expenses, diminution of quality of life, disability, mental anguish and pain and suffering.

Last week, however, Trimper’s attorneys filed a formal answer to the complaint, seeking its dismissal on a variety of grounds. The answer includes a paragraph-by-paragraph denial of much of the alleged facts in the case spelled out in the complaint. The answer also asserts the minor plaintiff and/or his parent or guardian assumed the risk and were in part “contributorily negligent.”

According to the complaint, the unidentified child was with his uncle, Stephen Bailey, and larger group of kids visiting the amusement park on June 28, 2012. Around 3:15 p.m., the child was riding the Hampton I amusement, which features miniature vehicles riding on a circular track designed for young people. At some point, the ride operator stopped the Hampton I to allow another child to get off. The alleged victim, believing the ride was over since it had stopped, got out of his car.

According to the complaint, the operator then started the amusement again and the child was struck by a vehicle and knocked to the ground. The suit alleges negligence on the part of the operator and her employers.

“The operator, without first confirming that the tracks were clear and that all passengers of the ride were secure, resumed the ride,” the complaint reads. “At this time, one of the ride vehicles slammed into ‘J.’ The intense impact of the collision slammed him down, fracturing his skull on the cement floor. As he lay screaming, the ride vehicle continued rising off the track and dragging J’s body forward, causing abrasions on his torso, arms, legs and head.”

According to the complaint, the victim’s uncle alerted the operator to stop the ride and proceeded to lift the amusement ride off the victim. However, the former answer filed last week denies negligence and asserts at least some culpability for the incident lies with the victim and his guardian.

“No act or omission on the part of the defendants or their agents was the proximate cause of the incident,” the answer reads. “The incident was caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the minor’s parent or guardian and by Stephen Bailey.”