Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Disney for Jungle Cruise Injury
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Disneyland by the family of the victim of an incident at the Anaheim park, Joanne Aguilar. The victim, then a 66-year old woman, was visiting the park with her family when they visited the Jungle Cruise ride at the park. They were allegedly told that the boat they were told to ride was not wheelchair-accessible even though the eldest of the family was in a wheelchair. The victim then got into a standard boat, but allegedly had difficulty exiting the boat due to loose blocks on the steps. Ms. Aguilar fractured her femur after a slip and fall accident on the steps. Unfortunately, the victim did not survive due to complications from the injury and the lawsuit involves a wrongful death claim by the surviving family. Initially, the Orange Register reported the lawsuit in their article here. More reports surfaced from WDW News, Daily Mail and the New York Post.
The victims family hadn’t made a statement directly, however their attorney, Michael Jeadron, said, “my clients went to Disneyland with the hopes of creating life-long happy memories and instead are left with the memory of a lack of dignity and respect for their mother which ultimately led to her final demise. Two daughters are heartbroken, healing and seeking accountability for Disney cast members who laughed at their struggling mother instead of helping her.” He is apparently referring to allegations that park employees laughed at the victim after she fell.
The Orange County Register reported that Disney had not responded to their requests for comment. This is typical of companies involved in litigation. With respect to the lawsuit, the OC Register reports that “Disney denied all the allegations and said it is seeking a jury trial.” This likely means the company is gearing up for litigation over the case and possibly disputes liability, damages, comparative fault or some other aspect of the suit. They had not made a statement or given comments regarding the case at this early juncture.
The dispute over this wrongful death case will likely continue for some time. Litigation can take years to finish and the wheels of Justice grind slowly. The parties will have to complete discovery, pretrial motions, and prepare for trial. If the case is not dismissed, the family can hope for their day in court where a jury of their peers will decide the company’s responsibility for this and what compensation should be paid to the family. Disney as a company will most likely conduct an internal investigation. If the allegations of abuse by employees are true, it could result in firings.