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High-Profile Lawsuit Filed over N.C. State Fair Ride Malfunction

Four members of a North Carolina family who were injured in a horrific amusement ride accident filed a lawsuit against several defendants, including two individuals and two companies.

The Charlotte News & Observer reports that the Gorham family is seeking $150 million in damages, largely punitive. The four family members, who were injured six months ago at the North Carolina State Fair when the Vortex ride malfunctioned and sent passengers flying through the air as they attempted to exit the ride, are husband and wife Anthony and Kisha Gorman, Kisha’s 14-year-old son Justen Hunter and the couple’s niece, Shykema Dempsey.

Anthony Gorman sustained the most serious injuries. According to the News & Observer, Gorman was hospitalized for four months with permanent damage to his brain, neck and spinal cord. The family’s attorney says Gorman is unable to make his own legal decisions and that he underwent another brain operation less than two days prior to the suit being filed.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include Joshua Macaroni, owner of the ride, and Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow who was operating the ride at the time of the accident. Tutterrow has been accused of tampering with the safety systems on the Vortex and was arrested shortly after the accident.

Additionally, two midway companies have been named as defendants: Powers Great American Midways (also known as Amusements of Rochester Inc.) and the Georgia-based Family Attractions Amusement. Powers is the long-time managing midway company for the N.C. State Fair and Family Attractions is considered by Georgia state officials to be the owner and operator of the Vortex ride, as well as a sub-contractor for Powers.

According to reports, specific charges in the lawsuit against Macaroni and Tutterrow allege they “negligently altered, jimmy-rigged, and re-wired circuitry controls” in order to increase the profits of the ride by getting passengers on and off faster than the safety systems would allow.

The Raleigh personal injury attorneys at Kelly & West are experienced with handling cases that involve various types of personal injury. If you or someone you love is considering a personal injury lawsuit, contact us to discuss the details of your case today.

NOTE: Kelly & West is not representing the family mentioned in this news report.

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