About Me

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I am a consultant and general counsel to International Ride Training LLC as well as a practicing attorney in Avon, Connecticut. A particular focus of mine is the legal needs of the amusement and tourism industry. My focus on the amusement industry derives from my pre-law career as an operations manager with Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and Universal Orlando. Having started my career as a ride operator at Cedar Point in 1992, I progressed through the seasonal ranks and ultimately became the Manager of Ride Operations and Park Services at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. I also worked in Universal's operations department during the construction and development of Islands of Adventure. Today, I am an active member of the New England Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions. I have been invited to speak at amusement industry meetings and seminars and have worked on a variety of matters relating to this industry.

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This Blog/Web Site is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice (or any legal advice). By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher and / or author nor can such a relationship be created by use of his Blog / Web Site. By using thisBlog / Web Site you understand that any statement on the blog site are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Wiggin and Dana LLP or International Ride Training LLC. By using this blog site you understand that the Blog/Web Site is not affiliated with or approved by Wiggin and Dana LLP or International Ride Training LLC. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. This blog is not published for advertising or solicitation purposes. Regardless, the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Merlin Entertainment's Bold, And Extremely Smart, Move In The Aftermath Of The Smiler Accident

News in the amusement industry for the last week has been unfortunately dominated by the tragic events that occurred at Alton Towers on the Smiler roller-coaster on June 2.  As the days have progressed, it has become clear that the Smiler accident, in which a loaded train collided with an empty train on the track, was extremely serious, resulting in severe injuries to three guests, one of whom, seventeen year old Leah Washington, had to have her left leg amputated above the knee. 
For several days now, I’ve read the media coverage of this event and have purposefully decided not to write about it.  Why?  Because anything I might say about the accident itself would be pure speculation, something I strive to avoid.  But today, something about this case caught my eye that I could not ignore.  Today, according to media reports in the UK, the owner of Alton Towers, Merlin Entertainment, did something that most American operators (and their lawyers) would scarcely consider:  it took full responsibility for the injuries to its guests and promised to compensate each one.  I think, given the circumstances, that this was exactly the right move and one to which other operators should pay close attention.