Archive for Friday, July 2, 2010

Kansas business faces suit over fall from climbing wall

July 2, 2010


— A Stafford County teacher is suing a Wichita inflatable amusement company, saying she fell from a climbing wall owned by the company and broke both legs in April 2009.

Tessa Smith filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court against Moonwalks For Fun Inc.

The company recently had its license suspended by the city of Wichita for not having its rides properly inspected. The company owns equipment operated by Pure Entertainment, a facility near Kellogg and Tyler, where a 5-year-old boy suffered a fatal fall in March.

Brian Wright, Smith’s lawyer, said they told Moonwalks For Fun owner Duane Zogleman of their claims shortly after the incident last spring but could not reach a settlement before going to court.

“Duane Zogleman promised me he was going to dig into it and get to the bottom of it. That was more than six months ago,” Wright said this morning. “I just can’t get any answers.”

In the lawsuit, Wright said the company leased an inflatable climbing wall to parents at St. John High School to use at an after-prom party on April 4, 2009. The parents set up the equipment again for a fundraiser at the same location the next afternoon.

Smith, 40, a special education teacher in Iuka, fell during the fundraiser.

The 28-foot inflatable wall was “unsafe,” the suit says, because it was supplied to parents without a safety harness, and because the landing area was “too small and/or a portion of it was underinflated.”

The equipment was leased to the parents through a Moonwalks For Fun office in Hays, Wright said.

Jesse Zogleman, Duane Zogleman’s son and the registered agent for Moonwalks For Fun, said this morning that he was not aware of the lawsuit.

“There was not an incident during the after-prom party of any client of ours,” Zogleman said. “The after-prom party was successful. They’re a repeat customer of ours.

“There was an outsider, an extra organization, that blew up the units and used the units unauthorized and had their own event,” he said.

Wright says in the lawsuit that company representatives “knew or had reason to know” that the prom parents planned to set up and use the equipment again the next day.

He said no safety harness was supplied with the climbing wall. Zogleman said “everything we have, whether it’s a bungee run or an obstacle course,” is packaged with safety equipment, but he could not confirm whether one was provided with the climbing wall that day.

“This has nothing to do with us and our operation,” Zogleman said. “We have serviced over 1 million patrons … and we have zero percent claims (against the company’s insurance carrier). Zero accidents, period.”


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