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Florida-Based Circus Operator May Face Federal Fines in Wrongful Death

Walker International Events, an entertainment company based in Sarasota, Florida, may face up to $33,000 in federal fines for improperly anchoring a circus tent and failing to heed warnings by the National Weather Service indicating high winds associated with a storm in New Hampshire last August. The storm’s high winds caused the circus tent to topple during a performance, killing a father and his 6-year-old daughter. An additional fifty people were injured in the incident, including two circus workers.

The ensuing investigation into the incident also found several occupational hazards for circus workers. The report shows the use of electrical equipment in wet areas posed risk of electric shocks and that the company lacked fire extinguishers in many areas where open flames were used. Walker International also failed to secure the necessary assembly permits required by state law to host the August performance. Records show that in past years, Walker International did secure the permits prior to hosting events.

This incident brings an important point to the forefront: many traveling shows such as circuses and county fairs are run by smaller production companies, which may not have the necessary resources or knowledge of federal regulations to ensure the safety of the general public. While the average number of incidents per performance is less than 1 in 100, often incidents at smaller shows go unreported unless the incident involves severe injury or death. If you decide to attend a fair or live event, the best way to keep you and your family safe is to attend performances by reputable companies and to always be on the lookout for possible safety hazards.

If you or someone you love has been injured while attending a circus or other live performance, please call the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).

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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