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Parents seek $100 million for carnival ride collapse

The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens, claims...

By Courtney Dentch

The mothers of 10 southeast Queens children who were injured when an inflatable carnival ride suddenly deflated have filed a $100 million lawsuit against the amusement company and the city.

The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens, claims that Lawrence Carr Exposition, the carnival company, improperly installed the temporary ride and that the city was negligent in letting the company do so in a public park, said the mothers’ attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.

The children, who are under 14 and live in Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens, received a variety of injuries when the inflatable trampoline, named the Titanic and shaped like a 50-foot ship, deflated on April 2, collapsing on them, Rubenstein said. One child was injured in the shoulder, and others were treated for neurological, cervical, and other injuries, he said. The 10 children are still under medical care, he said.

The three mothers of the injured children still are hoping to receive damages to cover medical bills and mental anguish for themselves and their children, Rubenstein said. The suit asks for $10 million per child, he said.

The mothers were unavailable for comment.

The ride was part of a weeklong carnival set up by Lawrence Carr Exposition at Baisley Pond Park in South Jamaica. The company travels up and down the East Coast from March through October setting up and taking down its carnival rides. Other known stops include an annual fair at Shea Stadium. The company was unavailable for comment.

The suit, which was filed just days after the incident, alleges that the ride collapsed when a spike that was used to anchor it to the ground was pulled loose by high winds. The spike pierced the rubber material, causing it to deflate and trap the children, dropping them nearly 15 feet, the suit says. Several dozen children were playing on the ride when it collapsed, including the 10 who were injured, Rubenstein said.

The suit also claims the employee of Lawrence Carr Exposition who was managing the ride acted negligently when he allegedly backed away from the falling trampoline, Rubenstein said.

“One of the allegations is that the employee of the carnival who was manning this amusement ran away,” he said. “He didn’t even try to help.”

The company also was negligent for not checking and rechecking the safety of the ride, the suit says.

As for the city, the suit claims that the Parks Department, which issued a special events permit allowing the carnival to take place at Baisley Pond Park, is responsible for ensuring the carnival is run safely, Rubenstein said.

“The city needs to ensure that carnivals are maintained responsibly,” he said. “We have to hold this tragedy up as an example that the city must do more to prevent these kinds of accidents on city property so that when kids go on these rides the parents don’t have to fear for their children’s safety.”

But Jane Rudolph, spokeswoman for the Parks Department, said the company is responsible for the safety of the carnival rides, not the city.

“We’re like the host,” she said. “We’re just the location.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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