Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: $1.5M damage award granted in Cyclone roller coaster injury suit

Plaintiff Partially at Fault for Injury

March 31, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Kathy King listens while the unified trial of Paula Noone v. City of New York, Astroland Kiddie Park Inc. and Cycle Coasters, Inc. unfolds in Kings County Civil Term. 

The plaintiff, represented by Thomas Giuffra (seated, left) of the law firm Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, McCartney & Giuffra, claims that taking a ride in June 2006 on the Coney Island Cyclone roller-coaster caused her to exhibit symptoms of acute distress, for which she needed emergency surgery the same day to relieve compression on her spinal cord. 

The defendants, represented by Scott Taylor (standing) of the law firm Rosenbaum & Taylor, countered with arguments including that the plaintiff had assumed the risk of taking the ride that was concurrently being enjoyed by hundreds of riders, and that the ride, which was built in 1927, was in compliance with city inspections and amusement industry safety standards. 

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More than 20 witnesses’ testimony was presented in the seven-week trial, which included reading from the deposition of the ride’s manager of more than 30 years that described daily and regular maintenance procedures handed down from “old-timer” experts who, like he, had gained the experience to know by feel as soon as a screw was loose. The plaintiff’s attorney alleged negligence due to inadequate restraints and maintenance in a ride that may have had a gravitational force of 5Gs in the initial 85-foot drop.   

The jury deliberated four days before rendering a $1.5 million total verdict with 60 percent contributory fault to the plaintiff. Seated to the right of Taylor is his associate Leslie Luke. Seated at center is court clerk Debra Goldner, and court officer Maria Ramos keeps watch over the proceedings. 

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