Parents of girl who died from ferris wheel fall sue amusement park operator

By Jon Campisi | Jul 11, 2011

The family of a girl who died after falling from a ferris wheel at a New Jersey amusement park is suing the operators of the attraction.

Philadelphia attorneys James E. Beasley Jr. and Dion G. Rassias, of The Beasley Firm, LLC, filed the personal injury lawsuit July 7 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

The plaintiffs are Twanda and Byron Jones of Pleasantville, N.J., the parents of Abiah Jones, the young New Jersey girl who made headlines early last month when she fell to her death from a ferris wheel at Morey’s Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey.

The defendants in the suit are Morey’s Pier, Inc., Morey’s Attractions, LLC and The Morey Organization, LLC.

According to the complaint, Abiah Jones, who was 11 at the time of her death, was on a field trip to Morey’s Pier, located at 25th Street and the Boardwalk in Wildwood, which was organized for honors students celebrating exceptional scholastic performances during the preceding school year.

Jones got on the “Giant Wheel,” which is recognized as one of the largest ferris wheels in the United States, reaching almost 160 feet above sea level at its highest point, the lawsuit states.

Jones, who had never ridden a ferris wheel before, was never given proper safety instructions by ride operators, the suit states. Furthermore, the carriages on the Giant Wheel do not have adequate safety restraints, and the defendant “failed to properly warn of the dangers to this eleven year old child on her first ferris wheel ride alone,” the suit states.

According to the complaint, Jones was conscious during her fall from the ride, and only died later after resuscitative efforts failed.

The lawsuit states that Jones suffered fright and panic prior to her fall, significant pain and suffering as a result of her injuries, traumatic injuries such as broken bones and damaged internal organs, humiliation, embarrassment and disfigurement, damages to her nerves and nervous system, loss of life’s pleasures and death.

For each of the three counts listed in the lawsuit, Jones’ parents seek judgment against the defendants in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits, or $50,000 at common pleas court level.

As for the choice of venue, despite the fact that the plaintiffs live in New Jersey, the accident took place in New Jersey, and the defendants are based in New Jersey, the lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia court, the complaint states, because the defendants “routinely engage in business activities in Pennsylvania and obtain significant revenue from their business dealings with Pennsylvania businesses and residents.”

It gives examples of Pennsylvania business dealings as sending company personnel to Pennsylvania for marketing and advertising purposes, including TV appearances in the city, and selling large numbers of tickets to their amusements and parks in Pennsylvania, oftentimes distributing tickets to Pennsylvania municipal parks and recreation departments for their sale to Pennsylvania residents.

Furthermore, the suit was appropriately filed in Philadelphia County, it states, because the defendants routinely obtain substantial revenue through their business dealings with Philadelphia and its residents.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The case number is 110700470.

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