Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Amusement Park Liability Case

After a five-day jury trial in the US District Court for the District of Maryland in Greenbelt, Firm Principals David A. Skomba and Tamara B. Goorevitz, along with Firm Associate Jessica B. Pupkin, obtained a defense judgment in favor of Six Flags America on November 5, 2023.

The case, Balchi v. Six Flags America LP, involved a serious multi-ligamentous knee and related peroneal nerve injury incurred on a water attraction in Hurricane Harbor that resulted in several surgeries and over $100,000 in past medical expenses.  The plaintiff was forced to concede that the ride itself was safe but argued that he was not properly warned/instructed how to ride.  Six Flags was able to show, using the expert testimony of nationally recognized biomechanical engineer Douglas Morr of SEA, that the accident could not have happened unless the plaintiff failed to follow the ride instructions that he conceded were given to him.  The jury agreed, and after several hours of deliberations, returned a defense verdict in favor of the Park.

The plaintiff argued that the jury should award some $815,000 in damages in closing.  Six Flags trusted F&P’s recommendation that the matter, a classic “high damages, low liability” case, should be tried and that trust resulted in the defense verdict and judgment.

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