Sacramento-Area Amusement Park Sued By Family For Wrongful Death, Part 10 of 10

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death/personal injury case and its proceedings.)


Defendants cite cases from Georgia, Virginia, Iowa, Florida and Utah to make the argument that common carrier liability should not extend to operators or owners of an amusement park. As Plaintiff has demonstrated by the Elmer case, the most recent trend allows recovery for amusement rides under common carrier liability. Likewise, other states have held amusement rides to be common carriers. See e.g., Lyons v. Wagers (1966 Tenn. Ct. App.) 404 SW2d 270 (operator of amusement ride known as the Mary Mixer held to highest degree of care equivalent to that of a common carrier); Coaster Amusement Co. v. Smith (1940 Fla.) 194 So. 336 (operator of roller coaster held to highest degree of care equivalent to that of a common carrier); Bibeau v. Fred W. Pearce Corp., (1928 Minn.) 217 N.W. 374 (operator of roller coaster held to highest degree of care equivalent to that of a common carrier); Cooper v. Winnwood Amusement Co., (1932 Mo. Ct. App.) 55 S.W.2d 737 (operator of a roller coaster held to the highest degree of care for passenger safety); Sand Springs Park v. Schrader (1921 Okla.) 198 P. 983 (operator of a scenic railway held to the duty of highest care, skill and diligence).

The most recent case, Elmer v. Speed Boat Leasing, Inc., et al., supra, illustrated the connection of amusement rides to common carrier liability as demonstrated above. The court in Elmer relied on an out of state court decision, i.e. the Supreme Court of Colorado, as persuasive authority. While these court decisions are not binding on the Court in the present case, they should be heavily considered in weighing the decision to factor amusement park rides in as common carriers.


The California legislature’s broad definition of common carrier, coupled with recent case authority in support of finding amusement park rides analogous to common carriers, demonstrate that Plaintiff has sufficiently pled the fourth and fifth causes of action in the Second Amended Complaint. California should adopt the recent court holding in Elmer and incorporate those factors in applying common carrier liability to amusement park rides. Thus, the Demurrer to the Second Amended Complaint should be denied.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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