I usually write in this blog about primarily injury liability issues that occur in, or are likely to affect, Massachusetts residents. And an alligator attack isn’t exactly likely in this northeast state, that’s for certain. So why write here about the devastating tragedy that occurred in Walt Disney World in Florida, where a 2 year boy was killed by an alligator at Disney’s theme park there? Two reasons: 1) Because there are amusement parks and theme parks in Massachusetts, and the framework of the Disney accident illustrates in a fairly illustrative way, how and why theme parks can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property. 2) At least as reported so far, this tragic case illustrates corporate negligence at its worst.
The facts of this story, as reported this far, are nothing short of horrific: A young family from Nebraska travels to Disney World in Florida for a vacation. They were staying at the resort’s Grand Floridian Hotel, next to the “Polynesian Resort Village” attraction, which has a hotel abutting a man-made lagoon. The lagoon area recreates a beach environment, complete with beach loungers. The only warning signs present at the site are “No Swimming” signs. The couple’s two-year old son waded six inches into the water, when a six-foot alligator snatched the toddler, dragged him under water and killed him. As the boy’s horrified parents watched. Continue reading