By Ken McLemore
A lawsuit filed here in behalf of the estate of a seven-year old boy killed in an April, 2007, Easter holiday carnival accident has been dismissed concerning all defendants in the multiple-cross-claims action except the maker of the carnival ride, pending the completion of a settlement.
Attorneys for Jelly Saunders Original Razorback Amusements, Inc., of Judsonia, and T.H.E. Insurance Company, insurers for the carnival operator, presented a partial order of dismissal before Eighth Judicial District-North Circuit Judge William Randall Wright in November.
Wright signed the order Nov. 19, and it was filed for record Dec. 2, effectively removing Saunders and THE as defendants in the litigation.
“It appearing that the claims against separate defendants, Jelly Saunders Original Razorback Amusements, Inc., and T.H.E. Insurance Company, have been resolved by way of settlement, the plaintiff’s claims against Jelly Saunders Original Razorback Amusements, Inc. and T.H.E. Insurance Company shall be dismissed with prejudice,” the order states.
Wright’s dismissal of the defendants from the litigation “with prejudice” automatically forecloses renewed or further litigation against them in the claim of Marisol Mendoza, mother of Marcial Alvarado, Jr., as administratrix of the boy’s estate.
Wally Properties, LLC, of Fort Smith, owners of the Hope Expo Center, where the Easter Sunday accident occurred, were dismissed as defendants in a similar filing in May.
Claims filed in the Hempstead County Circuit Court lawsuit revolved primarily around the manufactured design of the Sizzler ride from which the boy was thrown or fell, as well as the responsibility of the carnival operator in allowing the ride to be used, the responsibility of the property owner, and the responsibilities of the child’s mother in allowing him to ride the machine.
Three of those claims have been removed relating to Wally Properties, Saunders, and T.H.E. Insurance, leaving the sole remaining claim in the litigation against the manufacturer of the ride machinery, Forsythe and Dowis Rides, Inc., dba Wisdom Industries, Ltd., of Sterling, Colo.
Saunders, T.H.E. Insurance, and Mendoza maintain claims against Forsythe and Dowis, the most recent being a cross-claim action filed by Saunders and T.H.E. Insurance in September.
That claim argues directly to the responsibility of Forsythe and Dowis under the Arkansas Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, seeking to apportion liability for any judgment to Forsythe and Dowis.
That claim was filed a month after safety consultants retained by the Bandas Law Firm of Corpus Christi, Texas, in behalf of Mendoza, filed reports with the court through the law firm which concluded that the ride’s on-site operator should have been better trained by Saunders, the ride itself was not well designed or maintained, and the state investigation into the boy’s death was insufficient.
No settlement filings had been put into the record in the Hempstead County Circuit Clerk’s Office at press time Friday. Attempts to reach Christopher Bandas, Mendoza’s attorney, and Jason Campbell, Saunders’ attorney, were unsuccessful at press time Friday.