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Story Land sued over 2004 injury

New Hampshire Business Review

Original Article »

June 08, 2007

The family of a Maine child is suing the owners of Storyland over a head injury allegedly caused three years ago while the child was getting on a ride at the amusement park in Glen.

The suit is being filed just as the family-owned theme park is being bought by an out-of-state firm.

According to the suit, Kaitlyn Emerson of Shapleigh, Maine, was 7 years old in June 2004 when the accident occurred. She was boarding a tractor ride at the amusement park, the ride started and she was struck in the head, according to the suit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Concord.

The girl, who was boarding the ride from the wheelchair area because of her father’s disability, was struck three times, once by a wheel fender, the second time on cement ground, and the third time by the next car, Christopher Grant, the Portsmouth attorney representing the family, said.

Since then, said Grant, she has suffered from memory loss and cannot speak. She mainly communicates through body language and limited writing, which is far below her grade level, he said.

Storyland has not been sued in more then a decade in federal court, but Grant said that may be because most such cases are settled with insurance companies out of court. In this case, Grant said, he wanted to give Emerson as long as possible to recover before making a demand from Storyland, and, because of the statute of limitations, ended up having to file to protect his client’s rights.

The suit names The Morrell Corporation, the family-held company which owns Storyland, as well as Kennywood Entertainment, a Pennsylvania firm that owns a number of amusement parks and is purchasing Storyland in a deal that is scheduled to close in June.

The suit doesn’t ask for a specific amount. Grant said that money wasn’t the only object of the suit.

“The only thing that is positive in this is that by means of claims like these, things get corrected procedurally with the equipment, and the hope is that nothing like this happens again,” Grant said.

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