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Injury at amusement park results in money verdict--but for the amusement park and against victim.

Marilyn Lukas attended the Carnival at the Taylor Summer Fest with her husband and kids.  As they were walking down the midway near the "Beer Bust," a softball struck her in the face, broke her nose, lacerated her cheek and took some of the pleasure out of the family's outing.  Lukas sued the operator of the Beer Bust game and the operator of the carnival, alleging poor design and management of the ball-throwing game.  To make a long story short, the Carnival operator argued that Lukas couldn't prove that the Beer Bust was the source of the ball that struck her, and the jury concluded that the operator wasn't responsible for Lukas' injury. 

The Carnival operator then sued the Beer Bust operator to recover its defense costs of $117,000.00.  The lower court entered a judgment for that amount, based on the Beer Bust operator's indemnity contract with the Carnival (agreeing to hold the Carnival harmless for any claims arising out of the Beer Bust's activities).    The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that given the jury's verdict in the case brought by Lukas, the indemnity contract language was ambiguous in attempting to shift the defense expenses to the Carnival.  We guess there was "due process" here, but it is hard to see this result as a common sense example of a "system of justice."   Do you think this is what most people think they are buying when taxpayers fund the operation of a court system?  Certainly insurance companies are getting their money's worth.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262