The Dallas Morning News (12/11/18) reports that the settlement was announced by Six Flags and involved a payment to Esparza’s family but with no admission of liability or fault. Specific details of the settlement have also not been disclosed. Six Flags and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides had filed lawsuits against each other, each blaming the other for Esparza’s death. Six Flags alleged Gerstlauer was responsible for the accident because the ride was defective, while Gerstauer alleged rider operators failed to ensure Esparza was properly locked in her seat.
On July 19, 2013, Esparza was riding the Texas Giant roller coaster when she fell from the car she was in, struggled to hold onto the roller coaster, dropped 75 feet, hit a support beam and landed on a tunnel. Esparza’s family filed a lawsuit, alleging that an inspection of the Texas Giant showed problems with the security system on the ride, including a failure of lights that would have shown whether or not all safety bars were locked in place.
Esparza’s family also alleged that Six Flags knew about the risk of being ejected from the ride but failed to add safety belts to the roller coaster.
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After Esparza’s death, the Texas Giant was closed for two months and then reportedly reopened with seatbelts. The Giant now also has a test seat so riders can check to see if they fit in the seat.
Attorneys for the Esparza family said their clients are “very pleased” with the settlement.
The lawsuit is case number 342 268034 13 in the District Court, Tarrant County, Texas.