The action was brought on behalf of the two minor daughters of Jason Reynolds and Kimberly Reynolds against the fair operator, Family Attractions Amusement Co., the ride’s manufacturer and maintenance company, High-Lite Rides, Inc. and others seeking redress for the young girls’ injuries. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, who witnessed the accident from the ground and who were by their daughters’ side during the traumatic hours that followed, were also listed as claimants in the lawsuit.
On August 8, 2016, the Reynolds and their daughters, B.R. and K.R., 6- and 10-years-old at the time of the incident, attended the Greene County Fair in Greeneville, Tennessee unaware of the anguish that was soon to befall the family. The two girls boarded the Ferris wheel, which the family claims was in a state of neglect and disrepair, resulting in them falling from their carriage approximately 40 feet to the ground and sustaining severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury. Later inspections by government officials concluded that the accident occurred when rusted rivets beneath the girls’ carriage gave way, causing a metal plate fastened to the carriage’s underside by the rivets to jam against the Ferris wheel’s internal crossbar.
The Ferris wheel, operated and maintained by Family Attractions, stuck near the top of the turn, upturning the carriage and ejecting both children while their parents witnessed the event from the ground. The girls were evacuated via helicopter to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee. B.R. suffered head trauma and brain injury, while K.R. sustained a broken arm along the growth plates. Both children, along with their parents, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The official investigation into the incident revealed that the approximately 22.5-ton Ferris wheel was faulty, uncovering systematic and prolonged negligence in its maintenance and supervision.
Due to swelling to her brain, B.R. was induced into a coma by trauma surgeons and placed on ventilation due to multiple areas of atelectasis in both lungs. CT scans of her head revealed a hemorrhagic contusion in the right cerebellum and her EEG scan results were abnormal. She suffers from short-term memory loss and staring spells, as well as acute post-traumatic stress disorder, manifesting as frequent nightmares, irritability, and hypersensitivity to low-level risks like riding an elevator. K.R. suffered a left distal radial fracture and ulnar stylus fracture, in additional to post-traumatic stress.
Along with other victims, the family is seeking restitution for the physical and emotional injuries they endured, as well as economic and non-economic damages. They claim that the defendants, who operate other similar rides in county fairs and amusement parks, were grossly negligent in the manufacturing, maintenance and inspection of the rides and showed reckless disregard for public safely, endangering countless children across different states.
The family is represented locally by Bruce D. Fox of Fox & Farley in Clinton, Tennessee, the newly elected President of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association; Stephen A. Weiss of Seeger Weiss LLP in New York, the firm that led the NFL Concussion Litigation; and David M. Cedar of the Cedar Law Firm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.