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THANKSGIVING IN OKLAHOMA CITY

Rayburn v. Amusement Park (11/95)

Defense Lawyers: Tim Cheek, Boyd F. Jensen II, Jennifer Malone

Facts: On May 30, 1991, 34-year old Plaintiff, Terryl Rayburn, rode the "Twister" roller coaster in Oklahoma City at an Amusement Park. Plaintiff alleged she was injured when the roller coaster stopped and restarted on an incline. The Plaintiff had numerous medical complaints. The trial was proceeding with great difficulty during the first week. The Judge was allowing punitive damages against the park. Latitude for experts and concerns about defense strategy were problematic. Boyd Jensen was asked to assist in the defense of the Amusement Park. By the end of the trial the judge vacated his prior ruling and refused to allow any evidence or argument about punitive damages. The verdict in favor of the park was rendered the following Thursday after Thanksgiving.

Damages: Alleged herniated disc at C6-7, which resulted in a cervical diskectomy and fusion surgery, disc bulges at multiple levels, left shoulder surgery and future right shoulder surge, soft-tissue injuries of the neck and back, headaches.
Medical: $85,000 - Earnings Loss: $50,000 - General Damages: $1,000,000
Jurisdiction: Oklahoma County District Court
Judge: Eugene H. Mathews

Plaintiff's Demand: $1,000,000
Defendant's Offer: $125,000  

Verdict: Defense