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Premises Liability: Sue The Zoo And The Mouse

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been two huge cases that have made national headlines. The facts of both cases are similar, and they make my trial lawyer ears perk up. First, there is the case of the child that fell into a gorilla pit at the Cincinnati Zoo. Then, there's the child that was attacked and killed by an alligator while at a Disney resort. Both cases involved children. Both cases involve companies in the business of making money off of children. However, in both cases, both Defendants (The Zoo and The Mouse), failed to make their facilities child-proof.

It is a FACT that children will and do get into everything. That is why a reasonable business owner that caters to children and families, should do everything possible to make their premises safe. If the premises cannot be made safe, then warn about any dangers that exist. Never dig open pits, place gorillas inside of them, and invite kids onto the premises without making absolutely sure that a kid cannot maneuver themselves into the pit. A reasonable business must make their premises reasonably safe and warn against any unsafe conditions. The zoo could have put a net up over the gorilla pit. That way, if a kid falls into the gorilla pit, the child never comes into contact with the silver-back gorilla. The child remains safe on top of the net until help arrives. In 2016, children should not be able to fall, walk, or crawl into a gorilla pit. A proper enclosure and/or a net would have cost them only a few thousand dollars. It would have saved them a lot of embarrassment in the media.

"The Mouse" at Disney is just as culpable. Rule Number One: If you have alligators in your lagoon, WARN YOUR GUESTS! Folks blame the parents for allowing their kid to stand in the water, but if the parents had been properly warned, they would have been nowhere near the water! I'm sure they would laid by the pool if they had seen a sign that said: WARNING: MAN EATING ALLIGATORS IN THE LAGOON. The Disney case is simply a failure to warn case.

To all business owners, if a dangerous condition exists on your property, you must warn about it! Ignorance is no excuse where reasonable inspections would have revealed the problem. (i.e- rotten wood on staircase, alligators in the lagoon, etc.). The Mouse should be sued too!