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Disabled Man Awarded $8,000 After Being Trapped on Disneyland Ride in 2009
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An attorney from Santa Ana, David Geffen, told the San Francisco Chronicle that his client has been awarded $8,000 in damages after spending more than 30 minutes trapped on the ride “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland in 2009.

The man, Jose Martinez, is disabled and from Los Angeles County. He was stuck in the “Goodbye Room” when the ride stopped working the day after Thanksgiving in 2009.


Geffen said that employees were able to remove all the other riders from the attraction, but could not evacuate Martinez because he is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. He also suffers from high blood pressure and panic attacks. He was traumatized while sitting in the boat as the high-pitched song, “It’s a Small World,” played over and over because employees did not turn it off.

Geffen said that employees should have called firefighters to rescue his client. Instead, they waited for the ride to be fixed.

“Disney was alerted about his panic problem and didn’t call for the fire department right away,” Geffen said.

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U.S. District Judge James Selna said that Disneyland is responsible for warning disabled guests that they could get trapped for long periods of time if a ride breaks down.

“I find a breach of the common-law duty to provide safe premises,” the judge said. Selna awarded Martinez $4,000 for a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and $4,000 for ‘pain and suffering.’

“This is a really important ruling not just for (Martinez), but for anyone that rides the rides at Disneyland — because they do break down often and they do not tell people,” Geffen told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The court’s saying that this kind of injury is foreseeable and that (Disneyland) has a duty to warn people.”

A Disneyland spokeswoman, Suzi Brown, said the following in a statement: Disneyland “believes it provided all appropriate assistance to Mr. and Mrs. Martinez when the ride temporarily stopped and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree.”



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