APNewsBreak: Lawyer says settlement in Wis. amusement park accident that injured 12-year-old

Friday, October 1, 2010

APNewsBreak: Settlement in Wis. ride accident

MILWAUKEE — The lawyer for a 13-year-old Florida girl who was seriously injured when she fell about 100 feet to the ground from an amusement park ride said Friday that they have reached a settlement with the park.

Stuart Grossman, an attorney for Teagan Marti, said Friday that a pre-lawsuit settlement has been reached with Extreme World in Wisconsin Dells but couldn’t release any details, including when it occurred. A judge still must approve it.

Grossman had said in August that he expected to file a civil lawsuit against the park.

“They settled,” he said by phone from Key West, Fla. “They knew it was coming and they just said, ‘Here’.”

A number listed for Extreme World rang unanswered Friday. A foreclosure auction for the park is scheduled for Oct. 19. The sale would satisfy a more than $2.7 million judgment in favor of the bank against Anderson Amusements LLC and Extreme World Inc. The bank filed the action in December.

Marti, who was visiting Wisconsin from Parkland, Fla., on July 30, hit the ground in the free-fall ride after nets and air bags that were supposed to catch riders were not raised. Doctors have said she suffered swelling in her brain, multiple severe fractures of her spine and pelvis and lacerations to her liver, spleen and intestines. They said she could end up paralyzed.

She was transferred from American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison to Florida in September. Grossman said he couldn’t give an update on Marti’s condition, but said she is still hospitalized and being seen by spinal cord specialists in Miami.

Her mother, Julie Marti, has said her daughter saw the ride, called Terminal Velocity, on a cable travel show and convinced her family to make the trip to check it out.

The ride operator, 33-year-old Charles A. Carnell of Lake Delton, Wis., has been charged with one count of first-degree-reckless injury, a felony punishable by up 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. Carnell told investigators he “blanked out” and never saw the “all-clear” signal before releasing the girl. He has a hearing Oct. 25.

The state Department of Commerce has said Carnell did not follow protocol. The report says the girl was dropped before the cage in which she was riding reached the top and before a net was in proper position.

Grossman said he may still file a lawsuit against the German manufacturer of the ride, Montic.

“Right now we doing our very best to communicate with them,” he said.

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