The family of a woman who was killed in a July roller coaster accident has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Six Flags Entertainment Corp. The suit, filed in Texas court, alleging the company ignored safety issues with the Texas Giant coaster. The family of Rosa Esparza — who fell to her death from the Texas Giant roller coaster on July 19 at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington — claims the amusement park giant knew the roller coaster had inadequate and unreliable safety restraints but refused to add safety belts or shoulder harnesses that would further protect riders. The complaint said:
Six Flags has known for decades the real risks and extreme dangers posed by roller coasters and other amusement rides. Yet, instead of making their rides safer, Six Flags continually pushes the envelope, building extreme roller coasters that are bigger, faster and more dangerous.
The victim’s safety bar restraint failed when she, her daughter and her son-in-law rode the Texas Giant, leading to her fall and subsequent death. Six Flags shut down the coaster and a similar ride in its San Antonio park following the accident, but reopened the Texas Giant after it was retrofitted with new seat belts and redesigned restraint bar pads. The amusement park company said that it would make sample seats available at ride entrances and that “guests with unique body shapes or sizes may not fit into the restraint system.”
It is alleged in the lawsuit that Six Flags knew the previous safety system was unreliable before Ms. Esparza’s death. It was alleged in the complaint:
After Rosa’s death, post-incident inspections showed that various parts of the security systems on the ride were experiencing inconsistencies and intermittent failures. In addition, Six Flags has now admitted that, after these inspections, they replaced a ‘limit switch’ for a restraint in a seat in the very car in which Rosa was riding because Six Flags found the switch to be defective.
The Esparzas family cited a number of other fatal Six Flags roller coaster accidents that have happened across the country and said such events shouldn’t come as a shock to the company because of its inadequate safety measures. It was alleged in the complaint that “Six Flags continues to be reactive, rather than proactive with regard to common sense safety systems and operations.” The family requested unspecified damages for the victim’s husband and children under the Texas Wrongful Death Act and Texas Survival Statute.
The Esparza family is represented by Dallas lawyers Frank L. Branson, Quentin Brogdon and Eugene A. Brooker Jr. The case is Amado Esparza et al. v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. et al. in the 342nd Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Texas.
Sources: Erica Tiechert and Law360