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Liability Questions Arise After Florida Alligator Attack

Attorney: Laurie E. Sherwood | Published 6.21.16

Published June 20, 2016

After the death of a Nebraska toddler killed by an alligator at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort on June 15, there are questions of who is at fault in the incident.

Walsworth Partner Laurie Sherwood, who was interviewed by Claims Journal, said there are a few theories of liability to hash out if this becomes a litigated matter, including negligence and premises liability. She explained that Disney’s duty to warn resort guests about the alligators would be an issue and would turn on specific facts of the case, including Disney’s knowledge and the steps it took, the likelihood or foreseeability of such an occurrence and whether there was any other information provided to guests warning that alligators are present on the property and in the lakes.

According to Sherwood, the additional warning signs would not impact a case against Disney if it were to go to trial. That’s because in several states including California and Florida, adding the signs after the incident would be considered a subsequent remedial action or measure that cannot be used to establish liability at trial.

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