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Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Disney Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Workers’ compensation lawsuits are complicated, especially in Florida. In 2003, the Florida Legislature changed the rules, hoping to protect employers from lawsuits outside of regular workers’ compensation claims. Under the law, a worker who is injured in an accident must prove that the situation was "virtually certain to result in injury or death." That did not stop the wife of man killed in an accident at Walt Disney Parks from filing a wrongful death lawsuit. She seeks compensation for an accident that took the life of her husband.

The accident occurred in 2011. 52-year-old Russell Roscoe was an attractions mechanic at the Animal Kingdom theme park. Roscoe and other mechanics were working on the Primeval Whirl ride at the park. They were "wet testing" the ride, making sure the brakes would perform under water-soaked conditions. For the test, employees spray water from the top of a platform and other employees test the brakes. During the test, Roscoe was struck by one of the vehicles when he was on the tracks.

In 2012, Terrie Roscoe filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Orange County Circuit Court. A court hearing was held on May 11 in the case. Disney had hoped to have the case dismissed, but Judge John E. Jordan ruled that Disney had not done enough to disprove the merits of the claim.

Disney has argued that Terrie Roscoe is only entitled to money from the workers’ compensation fund and provisions of that law give the company immunity.

It’s unknown why Roscoe was on the tracks, but evidence gathered in the case makes it apparent that employees who were working on the tracks as well as managers knew that Roscoe was on the tracks at the time of the accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation into Roscoe’s death and fined Disney $47,250.

The case will now proceed to trial. Disney representatives were not willing to comment after the ruling, but Terrie Roscoe’s attorney said the ruling was a positive step. It would allow the widow to have her day in court.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a Florida amusement park accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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