Thursday, June 19, 2003

Kings Island sued by family

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Laurel, Ind., family is suing Paramount's Kings Island, claiming the park failed to warn them of an electrical storm during a June 2001 visit.

The suit, filed last week in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court says Shawn Perkins was hit by lightning in the parking lot as he and his family left the park.

"A bolt of lightning hit the car, touched him, threw him several feet and blew the tires," said Drake Ebner, the family's attorney. "A lot of voltage passed through his brain."

Perkins is still being treated for cognitive deficit and severe memory loss. Ebner said Perkins once was gone for three days because he loses track of time. Perkins also has a fear of being outdoors.

A Kings Island spokesman said Wednesday morning that park officials had not had time to look over the suit and had no comment.

The Perkins family is suing the park, located in Mason, for at least $25,000 plus punitive damages. They have demanded a jury trial for the civil suit.

Kings Island has its own weather station and does warn patrons when inclement weather comes into the area. The suit claims the Perkins family was not warned during their June 12, 2001, visit.

"The case is one that I suspect will draw some criticism," Ebner said. "At first, people are going to say 'Isn't this an act of God?' But in fact, amusement parks across the country watch the weather. ... They do have the duty to warn people in the park.

"We think the tragedy that happened here was avoidable," he said.


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