The case of Gansz V. Alton Haunted House originated when a girl tripped while running from an individual with a loud motor driven chainsaw at a haunted house in Alton, Illinois on October 29, 2011 (Faces of Lawsuit Abuse, 2013). The girl’s father, Terry Gansz, claims the haunted house tour included a section where patrons were directed through a passage leading to a ramp with an entry to the rear of the haunted bus. American Legion is being blamed for the design of the haunted house making it difficult for patrons to exit the attraction (Madison Record, 2013). Arguing that the plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risks of the haunted house, the defendants claim they are not at fault and should not be liable for any injuries claimed (Madison Record, 2013). Issue: Has negligence been demonstrated?
According to Cheeseman (2013), negligence is a “A doctrine that says a person is liable for harm that is the foreseeable consequence of his or her actions” (p.91). The elements of negligence include:
Duty of Care
Breach of Duty
The case of Gansz versus Alton Haunted House exemplifies the foundation of the fault principle. Terry Gansz the father of a young girl who was injured when she tripped over a ramp at the Haunted House alleges that there was failure to ensure the safety of the patrons who visited the haunted house. Alton Haunted House had a duty to exercise reasonable care for those who would visit the haunted house. The unforeseen danger of the participants were not averted and the injuries suffered by the young girl is the fault of Alton Haunted House. Alton Haunted House believes the young girls harm was the result of her own negligence. It was not the duty of the young girl to research beforehand the possible dangers of the haunted house.
In our analysis of the case team D recognized that there were flaws in the defendant’s case. The defendants had a responsibility, a duty in fact, to ensure the safety of the patrons. There should be a limit as to how far actors should be allowed to come to patrons. Also nowhere in the case did it state that a sign was posted stating enter at your own risk or anything of that nature. So team D concluded that the defendant must be held liable for their action because there were no clear policies in place for employees with regards to chasing patrons. . Duty of care is listed as “Duty of care is defined as the “obligation people owe each other – that is, the duty not to cause any unreasonable harm or risk of harm” (Cheeseman, 2013, p. 91). We believe that is was there duty to ensure safety.
Learning Team D reviewed the case of Gansz v. Alton Haunted House using the IRAC method. Based on the issue, rule, and analysis conducted, the team’s conclusion is that Alton Haunted House is liable for negligence because they breached their duty of care. This breach resulted in foreseeable injuries to the plaintiff. In this case, patrons did assume a level of risk by entering into the house; however, Alton Haunted House still had a responsibility to ensure their employees were properly trained and supervised prior to interacting with patrons in order to minimize the risk of injury. This case provides an excellent example of the liabilities business owners may encounter. Therefore, in any business managerial setting it is imperative that owners carefully consider how their actions or lack of actions could lead to a lawsuit.
Faces of Lawsuit Abuse. (2013). Girl chased at haunted house sues Alton.
Retrieved from http://www.facesoflawsuitabuse.org/2012/10/girl-chased-at-haunted-house-with-chainsaw-sues-alton-american-legion/ Madison Record. (2013). Bellville attorney to represent Alton in haunted house lawsuit. Retrieved from http://madisonrecord.com/issues/366-personal-injury/249477-belleville-attorney-to-represent-alton-in-haunted-house-lawsuit Madison Record. (2013). November trial vacated in girl’s suit against Alton haunted house. Retrieved from http://madisonrecord.com/issues/366-personal-injury/259790-november-trial-vacated-in-girls-suit-against-alton-haunted-house-cmc-set-eve-of-halloween