An attorney says a disabled man was awarded $8,000 by Disneyland after the “It’s A Small World” ride broke, stranding him and his wife for roughly 30 minutes while the theme song played continuously.
Jose Martinez’ ordeal was so traumatizing that, according to his lawyer David Geffen, he didn’t medically stabilize for three hours after the ride broke down in 2009.
“No one came to us, which I felt was another potential deadly situation,” Martinez told CBSLA last February. “I told my wife, I said,’ they want us to roll to first aid? I don’t think we’re gonna make it.’”
Martinez and his wife filmed much of the scene, and this was part of their view:
Geffen says half the award ordered Friday is for pain and suffering, and the rest is for a violation of disability law.
“The music was blaring. They couldn’t get it to go off,” Martinez recalled.
Apparently the other passengers were evacuated but, because of where the ride stopped and Martinez’ wheelchair, they weren’t able to immediately assist him. And in addition to being wheelchair-bound, Geffen says Martinez also suffers from panic attacks and high blood pressure. This was all aggravated by a need to urinate, he claims.
“Martinez’s anxiety increased as his bladder began to fill,” Judge Selna concluded in a ruling last November that reportedly dismissed the majority of the complaint. ”Martinez also developed a severe headache and recognized that he was experiencing autonomic dysreflexia, which is often caused by an overly full bladder.”
However, Selna also noted that Martinez had medicine with him that could have controlled some of his health problems, but made no attempt to reach it or ask for assistance in reaching it.
Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the Anaheim theme park believes it provided appropriate assistance during the incident, and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree. They have also modified the ride’s emergency response plan to provide for passengers with disabilities.
Here’s Martinez’ CBSLA interview, where he described the event as a “nightmare”:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.