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Dollywood Responds to Injury Lawsuit

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Pigeon Forge, TNDollywood has responded to a personal injury lawsuit alleging a woman suffered serious brain, back and neck injuries in December 2013 due to negligence on the part of Dollywood staff. The plaintiff, Tedi A. Brown, claimed the ride she was injured on, the Waltzing Swinger, should not have been operated in dangerous conditions, which resulted in her back injury. Dollywood, however, argues that the plaintiff jumped from the ride, rather than falling from it.

Brown filed her lawsuit in late 2014, alleging her fall from the Waltzing Swinger (a swinging chair ride that lifts chairs up to 25 feet in the air) occurred in slick and rainy weather conditions, making the ride too dangerous for operation. According to court documents, Brown fell at the end of the ride: thinking the ride was over, she reportedly lifted the lap bar so she could leave her seat. Unfortunately, the chairs were still 10 feet above the ground. Because her lap bar was lifted - and because of the rainy conditions, the lawsuit claims - Brown was unable to prevent herself from falling headfirst to the pavement and ultimately suffered brain injuries as well as back and neck injuries.

Brown alleges in her lawsuit that she asked an employee if the Waltzing Swinger would be safe to ride and was told not to worry, even though the park’s website warns that the Waltzing Swinger may be closed during inclement weather. She reportedly suffered a brain injury, broken sacrum, broken coccyx, and other injuries to her neck and spine, as well as a broken jaw.

The lawsuit claims the ride was not properly equipped with locking mechanisms to prevent riders from attempting to leave the ride early. Brown seeks approximately $475,000 in her suit.

According to The Daily Mail (11/1/15), Dollywood has said Brown had to “intentionally unlatch” her lap bar to get out of the seat early, and was injured because she jumped from the chair before the ride had fully stopped. As a result, the defendants have asked the courts to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is Tedi A. Brown and Derryl D. Brown v. Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, case number 3:14-cv-00593 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

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