Etheredge v. Walt Disney World (Orlando, Florida)
When Jalayna Jones Etheredge was 15 years old, a 4th of July trip to see fireworks at Disneyland was abruptly cut short when she stepped into a storm drain, severely injuring her ankle, while crossing the street from the parking lot to the park itself. For several years following the accident, Etheredge suffered from injuries both ankles, after harm to the one led to overuse of the other — and her physician has suggested she may need an ankle transplant.
Jack Nichols (Law Offices of Jack B. Nichols), the plaintiff’s attorney, argued that Disney's negligence resulted from the design of the parking lot as well as the fact that a Disney employee signaled for Miss Etheredge to cross the street. “There was a Disney employee out there, waving her across the street,” he said. “Her eyes were focused on that employee. Her eyes were also focused whether or not the cars were coming … She had no reason to believe there was a storm drain where she was being instructed to cross the street.”
John Smith (Zimmerman, Kiser & Sutcliffe, P.A), the defendant's attorney, argued that the design of the parking lot was completely reasonable and according to local codes and that Disney was not responsible for the accident. “There was no violation of any code or standard involved in this entire situation,” he said. “She simply wasn’t looking down … she wasn’t paying attention to the curb.”
The jury found that Disney was not negligent.