These days, it seems as though people can’t just accept things that happen for just being what they are: accidents. Someone is always to blame, and everyone is looking to make a quick buck off of things. In truth, sometimes shit just happens and it sucks. I broke my foot last summer after a nasty twist of my foot due to some poorly-maintained stairs, and the first question most people asked me was “Why didn’t you sue?” I guess I’m just not wired that way. Anyways, a girl got hurt in a haunted house because it was, you know, poorly lit. I feel bad for her, but I feel like sometimes, you take a risk. Leaving your house is a risk. That doesn’t always mean someone else is accountable.
Madison County Chief Judge David Hylla on May 9 re-assigned the case to Mudge following the retirement of Judge Ann Callis who left the bench in May to run for Congress.
In the lawsuit, the injured girl’s father, Terry Gansz, claims his daughter had been chased by an employee of the haunted house with a motor driven chainsaw in a dimly lit area, containing trip hazards, illuminated by a distracting strobe light resulting in her tripping and falling on Oct. 29, 2011.
Gansz’s lawsuit also named American Legion Post 126, Steven Haug and Dennis Sharp as defendants.
Gansz stated,“the proximate cause of her fall and injury were a combination of conditions and activities which rendered the hazard decidedly neither open nor obvious” – in his response to defendant American Legion’s motion to dismiss.
He filed his response to the motion to dismiss April 29 through his attorney J. Robert Edmonds of Edwardsville.
Defendant American Legion had asserted the plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed because “as a matter of law, the conditions alleged were open and obvious.”
Gansz also stated American Legion had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the design operation and supervision of the haunted house. He also stated in his response to the motion to dismiss that “when someone voluntarily undertakes a duty, he or she must perform the duty with due care or with such competence and skill as a volunteer possesses.”
“The court must view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff and take as true all well-pleaded facts and all reasonable inferences from those facts,” according to Gansz’s response to the defense’ motion.
Defendant Haug on May 9 denied the lawsuit’s allegations.
James Craney and Charles Anderson of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith represent American Legion.
Michael Murphy of Freeark, Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville represents defendant Dennis Sharp.
Madison County case number 12-L-1756.
I don’t know how this haunted house was set up, so it’s hard to say who is at fault here. I do feel bad for this girl for getting hurt. But you would think that if there was something seriously wrong with the attraction that more people would have gotten hurt. Also…Judge Mudge?