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Disney Found 40% Liable for Food Court Accident, Jury Awards Less Than $60K on Guest's $11M+ Claim

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Feb 8, 2019 9:31:49 AM

Foot-injury

Stock image. 


Orlando, FL—Jurors Thursday found a Walt Disney World guest largely responsible for the accident she says left her with a rare nerve disorder, and awarded her less than $60,000 in her suit against the theme park giant. Wilson v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc., 2015-CA-003347.

The Florida state court’s Ninth Circuit jury found Disney Parks and Resorts only 40% responsible for injuries Jessica Wilson says she suffered in June 2013 when an employee ran over her foot with a food service bussing cart. Wilson says the accident, which occurred at a food court in Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort, led her to suffer debilitating complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, a rare nerve condition that causes chronic pain.

Thursday’s verdict apportioned 60 percent of responsibility for the accident to Wilson herself, likely reducing the jury’s $59,840 award to less than $24,000.

During Wednesday’s closing arguments, Tyrone Law’s Nelson Tyrone requested more than $11 million for Wilson and her husband, including more than $4.4 million in future medical expenses.

“All of her doctors say it’s going to be life-long pain, and life-long medication, and life-long treatment [for Wilson]. No matter how good it gets, that’s as good as it’s going to get,” Tyrone said, detailing medical treatments he said Wilson needs for the pain, which radiates up her leg. “Never cured.”

The eight-day trial turned on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the severity of Wilson’s injury.

During Wednesday’s closings, Tyrone told jurors the cart, pushed by an unidentified Disney employee, ran over Wilson’s foot as she turned around from a condiment station. Tyrone said Disney employees who testified agreed that workers should push the carts slowly and yield the right-of-way to guests. “Every Disney employee said, ‘If it happened the way she says it happened, then [the worker was] violating the rules,” Tyrone told jurors.

But the defense challenged Wilson’s version of events, noting it had changed over time. During Wednesday’s closings, Wicker Smith’s Kurt Spengler told jurors that Wilson originally maintained the wheel ran over her foot twice. However, Spengler said that contention changed when experts testified how difficult it would be to push the wheel over Wilson’s foot even once. “Here we are six years later. [Plaintiffs] are in court asking for millions of dollars, and now here’s the story that’s made to fit the picture after hearing what the engineers say isn’t possible.”

And Spengler challenged the severity of Wilson’s injury, arguing that CRPS expert Dr. Richard Rauck testified her symptoms did not match the disease. “Now Mrs. Wilson says, ‘You know what? Twenty-eight days a month my foot looks completely normal,’” Spengler said, referring to discoloration and swelling seen in CRPS. “Guess what? That’s not CRPS, then. Because that’s not what happens.”

CVN has reached out to representatives of both parties and will update this article with their comments.  

Email Arlin Crisco at acrisco@cvn.com.

Related Information

Jessica and Mark Wilson are represented by Nelson Tyrone, of the Tyrone Law Firm, and Mooney Colvin’s John Colvin.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. is represented by Kurt Spengler and Raychel Garcia from Wicker Smith.

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Topics: Wilson v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US, Florida, Premises Liability