Chuck E. Cheese seeks dismissal of N.J. woman's trip-and-fall lawsuit

By Zachary Lewis | Aug 15, 2017

SCRANTON – CEC Entertainment, owner of family entertainment chain Chuck E. Cheese, is being sued after a patron claimed to have suffered an injury at one of its locations in Dickson City and has filed its objections.

CEC Entertainment has been named along with Parkway Construction & Associates, a Texas-based contractor hired to renovate the location of the alleged accident, and a number of unnamed companies and individuals in a civil lawsuit filed in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas on May 22.  

When the store was still under renovation in May 2015, Geoffrey Turner claims his wife Debra Turner's foot became lodged between a rug and a floor tile as she was making her way to the store’s counter, causing her to trip, fall and injure herself. The plaintiffs reside in New Jersey.

The Turners claim Debra had been subjected to a number of physical and mental injuries from the fall, including disfigurement, dysfunctions, emotional distress, impairments, pain and trauma. They also claim monetary losses due to medical expenses and lost earning capacity. They blame the conditions of the floor for the accident.

From the plaintiffs’ point of view, CEC Entertainment, Parkway and other defendants are liable for her injury, having failed to properly maintain store’s floor for patrons’ safety.

The Turners state the defendants either knew of the unsafe conditions of the floor, or if they had no knowledge of the conditions of the floor, should have known. They are seeking a trial by jury and punitive damages claiming negligence and carelessness on the parts of Parkway and CEC Entertainment.

In response, CEC Entertainment submitted preliminary objections to the court on June 22 stating the Turners’ complaint is insufficient. According to the defense’s written notice, punitive damages may only be granted in cases in which the actions of the offending party are “outrageous or egregious” in their intent or recklessness.

It further argues the claims the Turners made are unsubstantiated, generic in nature and do not specify intentional malice from CEC Entertainment and the parties involved. 

The defendants state the court may not award the Turners punitive damages if the incident was caused by “ordinary negligence” without any intent to cause harm.

The defendants are requesting the court to strike allegations of “recklessness” and other “vague confusing and/or boilerplate allegations” from the Turners’ complaint and dismiss their claims with prejudice.    

The plaintiffs are represented by Clement Mueller PA in Philadelphia. The defendants are represented by William J. Ferren & Associates in Moosic.

Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County case number 17-cv-3001

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