Nelson Tyrone delivers openings at trial against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. over an injury he says his client suffered in an accident at a hotel food court.
Orlando, FL— A Georgia woman suffers from a rare nerve disorder caused by a Walt Disney World restaurant cart that ran over her foot, an attorney for the woman said Tuesday, as trial opened against the resort giant. Wilson v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc., 2015-CA-003347.
“That rare nerve disorder has gone from a bruise on the top of her foot, [to a condition that’s] now taken over her leg, and really taken over her life,” Tyrone Law’s Nelson Tyrone told jurors Tuesday. “She functions and goes to work every day, but she is not who she was as a human being, as a Mom, as a wife.”
Jessica Wilson claims she suffered the injury in June 2013 when a WDW employee at the Art of Animation Resort’s food court pushed a bussing cart over her foot. Tyrone said the accident, which occurred while Wilson was on a family trip to celebrate her child’s birthday, has left her with complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, a form of chronic pain.
On Tuesday, Tyrone told jurors that workplace confusion over Disney rules regarding the bussing carts, which can weigh anywhere from 170 to 240+ pounds, caused the accident.
Tyrone said some managers reported that workers were directed to remain alert around guests when pushing the carts and to give guests the right away, while other managers contradicted those statements. “I don’t think Disney knows whether they have rules or not,” Tyrone said. “Folks told me they had rules when I talked to them and [took] their testimony, and now I have folks tell me that they’re not really rules, they’re guidelines, or [they say] ‘We don’t have rules at all.”
The accident initially left a foot bruise that appeared to be relatively minor, Tyrone told jurors. Because of that, Wilson says she declined an offer to go to the hospital when she reported the incident to the hotel’s concierge. However, Tyrone said the pain grew progressively worse over the course of several days, until it became excruciating.
Doctors eventually diagnosed her with CRPS. Tyrone said the injury now leaves Wilson in extreme pain and with recurring swelling that various forms of treatment have not resolved.
But Disney’s legal team questions the severity of Wilson’s injury and the circumstances surrounding the accident. During Tuesday’s openings, Wicker Smith’s Kurt Spengler told jurors Wilson missed multiple medical appointments before the CRPS diagnosis, failed to follow doctors’ advice, and continued to work a job that required full days and frequent travel. “Yet they want you, in this case, to say ‘Let’s give them millions of dollars,’” Spengler said.
Spengler also contended testing showed it would be difficult for the cart to roll over a guest’s foot, as Wilson claims. “These carts [do] not run over objects very well,” he said.
Spengler added that Wilson's version of events lacked potentially key corroborating evidence. He noted Wilson never took the name of the employee who was pushing the cart, the concierge Wilson allegedly spoke to claims no memory of the incident, and Disney did not have accident reports it typically made in such situations.
“Certainly something happened at Disney World to Mrs. Wilson’s foot,” Spengler said. But, “we don’t know much about what truly happened.”
Trial is expected to last about a week.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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