Disneyland Sued for Wrongful Death

The parents of the man killed on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are suing the park for wrongful death.

Additional lawsuits were filed Tuesday on behalf of a friend of Torres and five members of a family who allege they also were injured in the accident.

Now, it is in the nature of a thrill ride that people will experience minor injuries. Teeth are lost when heads slam into the protection bar, neck or back injuries can occur, and people do stupid things on rides all the time. But the reports have stated that the frequent accidents on Disneyland’s BTMR were the result of a combination of factors, shoddy maintenance, procedures that weren’t followed, and software issues. To me, there is one root cause of all this, Money.

Efforts were made to save money by restructuring maintenance, and it resulted in deaths (The Columbia and BTMR). Pundits and employees warned at the time that the restructuring would result in bad things, but they put money ahead of safety and now they must pay the price with lawsuits.

Procedures not being followed has its roots in money. Lack of money allocated for employee training and retraining and lack of money for supervision of employees. Often times managers who had never worked a ride were in charge of making decisions for it. The ‘lead’ role was eliminated or cut back and those that made it to lead were not promoted to managers.

Disney has a big mess to clean up internally. I’m not sure that the new Disneyland President realizes exactly how big a mess he’s dealing with yet. The park has gone so far away from the ideals and practices that built the park into the success it experiences, that it may not be possible to go back and recreate that feeling. But they must try to, or more deaths, injuries, and lawsuits will follow. And next time they may not be able to explain their way out of it so easily.