Sometimes as members of humanity it falls on us to say something. It falls on us to speak out when something is unjust. It falls on us to make our voices heard, even when it is clear that the people you are speaking to might not hear you.
As attorneys we have the opportunity to be the voice for the people on a day to day basis. The cases we take whether they be: defective products, medical malpractice or an 18-wheeler accident all involve standing up for the individual against large companies.
Recently, John and his family visited Disney World and as he was there John saw several issues with the way things were being run that could cause injuries to his family or other park goers. John had an opportunity to be a voice that would speak to protect the people, to protect those around him and this is the letter he wrote to Disney World’s Risk Manager.
As a citizen and a potential juror you have a voice that our government and large companies can hear clearly. Often the only way a large company will listen to the little guy is when a jury speaks by its verdict.
Below is the actual text of the letter John sent.
Mr. Stephen Wilder, Vice President of Risk Management
Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Mail Code: 6709
Burbank, CA 91521
Dear Mr. Wilder:
The prompt for this letter is to report an extremely dangerous activity I witnessed at the Kidani pool on the evening of Tuesday, October 11, 2011.
I arrived at the pool with my three (3) children, ages six (6), six (6), and eight (8) and observed a crew of three (3) using a personal lift device/telescoping forklift and what appeared to be adjusting or repairing flood lights suspended above the pool approximately thirty (30) feet.
There were two (2) men in the lift basket apparently harnessed in and another gentleman on a three (3) wheeled bicycle with “electrical” on one of the boxes fastened to the bike.
When I arrived, this piece of machinery was being used approximately two (2) to three (3) feet from the curved edge of the pool. There were approximately twenty-five (25) children and forty (40) adults present in the pool area. The forklift was being driven by the occupant of the basket. It was nighttime with no illumination other than the surrounding pool lights and flood lights. No one was asked to move from the lounge seats and no one was asked to clear the swimming pool.
I immediately moved my kids from the pool area while observing other children swimming up to the wall adjacent to where the forklift was being maneuvered. Children’s bodies (heads) were within two (2) to three (3) feet of the moving wheels of the forklift. The men then maneuvered the lift around the pool and went extremely close to the edge of the hot tub. The forklift’s wheels traveled within two (2) to three (3) feet of the edge of the hot tub.Also, I noticed that there were no lifeguards on duty and had a very difficult time monitoring my three (3) children’s whereabouts given the blind spots in the pool. I actually sat on the bottom rung of the lifeguard stand constantly moving to make sure my kids were in view.
Allow me to suggest the following safety protocols and procedures which may prevent a tragic incident involving this very dangerous piece of machinery:
1. Do not operate any lift device/machineries in or around the pool area while the pool is open. This maintenance/repair was being performed at night and could had been done when the pool was completely closed and/or restricted to all guests/occupants.
2. If maintenance work or repair work is required to be performed, the pool should be cleared and the walkway should be cleared prior to using this equipment. There should be at least a fifty (50) foot barrier between the outermost reaches of the telescoping forklift and the area where guests/children are expected to be.
3. If the pool is open, lifeguards should be on duty, period. The pool’s design leaves blind spots. The location of the slide(s) makes it impossible for multiple children to be supervised by one parent.
I have personal experience with clients who were injured and killed using these types of machines in a variety of settings. There is no need to expose children or unknowing adults to this very serious hazard. I hope that you will implement safety policies and procedures and/or regulations to remedy this situation so that there is not an unnecessary tragedy. We enjoyed our visit to Disneyworld and, in particular, Kidani lodge. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.
If I can provide more details or insight on what I observed or how these hazards can be remediated, I am happy to discuss this matter further.
JOHN D. GIDDENS, ESQ.