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, September 9, 2014

Why Six Flags' Loss In A Recent ADA Decision Might Ultimately Be Good For The Amusement Industry As A Whole

Over the last couple of years, I have told you about a very important case in our industry called Castelan v. Universal Studios.  Castelan was the first decision of its kind to shed some light on the standards applicable to amusement rides under the Americans With Disabilities Act.  I won’t re-hash what I said about the Castelan case again (you can click here and here to read my coverage of that case), but suffice it to say that a big takeaway from Castelan was its holding that, in states that required operators to follow ride manufacturer recommendations, the Americans With Disabilities Act allowed amusement ride owners and operators to use a ride manufacturer’s accessibility restrictions as, in effect, a proxy for proof that allowing disabled guests to ride created an “actual risk” of injury to that guest that satisfied the “legitimate safety requirements” exception to the ADA.   (If you didn’t understand that sentence, I highly recommend reading this for some clarification.)  Well, a federal court in Texas has recently weighed in on the issue and has reached a very different result – ruling against Six Flags Over Texas in a nearly identical case to Castelan and, in fact, rejecting much of the Castelan decision in the process.  The decision is certainly a bad result for Six Flags in that case, but is it a bad decision for the industry as a whole?  Many will undoubtedly say it is.  I don’t necessarily agree.