Fourth Circuit Affirms District Court’s Grant of Summary Judgment to Six Flags Confirming There Was No Negligence in the Operation of a Water Slide
A unanimous three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the US District Court for the District of Maryland’s grant of summary judgment to Six Flags. Six Flags had been sued by a guest of its Maryland waterpark who alleged negligence in the operation of a waterslide. The guest also sued the ride manufacturer for negligence and product liability. Working together, counsel for Six Flags and counsel for the co-defendant were able to demonstrate that the guest’s retained expert had no sound basis nor methodology for his opinions against either of them. The District Court granted the defense motion to exclude that expert applying well-established law to do so. It then found that, as a matter of established law, the claim for negligence failed. Six Flags had demonstrated conclusively that it had not deviated from the required maintenance and operational requirements at the time of the alleged injury. Accordingly, the District Court entered summary judgment in Six Flags’ (and, on slightly different grounds, the slide manufacturer’s) favor. The guest appealed the grant of summary judgment but did not preserve his challenge to the exclusion of his expert. After full briefing, the Court of Appeals first found that the guest had waived the issue of the exclusion of his expert but also noted that it agreed with the District Court’s rationale and also holding there was no abuse of discretion in the exclusion of the expert. The Court of Appeals then agreed with the District Court’s rationale and reasoning and affirmed the grant of summary judgment. Six Flags was represented by David A. Skomba, Tamara B. Goorevitz, and Miranda D. Russell throughout the proceedings. The case is Elkharroubi, et ux. v. Six Flags America, et al., 2022 WL 152416 (decided Jan. 18, 2022, Per Curiam, unpublished).