Disneyland Wins Another Ruling in Back-and- Forth Legal Battle Over Segways in Theme Park

Categories: Court, Dishney

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The latest ruling in the back-and-forth case over whether Segways should be allowed to roam Disneyland has been decided in favor of the Happiest Parking Structure on Earth.

A three-judge panel of California's 4th District Court of Appeals ruled Disney's "undisputed expert evidence showed Segways cannot be used safely in Disneyland crowds due to its method of operation."

R. Scott Moxley and I drag raced our Segways to see who would be the first to publish on the case when it was in federal court.

Disneyland Slammed By Federal Judges For Dissing Disabled Visitor

Will Segways be Newest Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure?

(If that seems like overkills, keep in mind that Scott's was filed under the "Disney Dirt" category of Navel Gazing while mine was under "Dishney"--two totally different audiences.)

Anyway, this all began in 2006, when Tina Baughman, who suffers from limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, called Disneyland to ask if she could ride her Segway in the park. Disneyland officials replied two-wheelers like Segways are not allowed per park policy.

After some more back and forth, Baughman sued in 2007 under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California disability and civil rights laws. She claimed someone with her unique disability--weak large arm and leg muscles that only allow her to walk short distances with a cane and make it difficult to rise from a seated position as in a wheelchair--was being discriminated against via the Disney policy.

U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney in Santa Ana removed the ADA portion of the suit in 2010, setting up last year's reversal by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which essentially ruled Disneyland should explore options, including Segways, for people like Baughman.

Actually, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, in his opinion, put the task to Disney Imagineers, citing all the great attractions they have developed over the years and writing, "As the man who started it all said, 'Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world.'" (Disney is said to be developing a four-wheeled device for stand-up riders.)

An Orange County Superior Court judge dispensed with Baughman's remaining claims before trial, finding that Disney proved Segways are inherently dangerous in a crowded park, much like the appeals court found recently.

"Disney produced expert evidence to the effect that Segways pose a substantial risk of injury in the crowded confines inside the park due to the vehicle's design," Judge Eileen Moore wrote for the appeals panel. "Baughman did not counter this evidence with expert evidence of her own. Instead, she offered her own declaration to the effect that she has never had an accident on her Segway."

Moore wrote the panel was also unconvinced by Baughman's argument that Disney is Segway's biggest customer as cast members ride them backstage, writing, "the issue is whether Segways can be used safely by guests inside the park."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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20 comments
brekkiefan
brekkiefan

I took a DCA Segway tour in '09, conducted before park operating hours. Of the 3-hour tour, one hour was spent teaching us how to use them. I'd be worried about guests not knowing how to properly maneuver them. Or curious people getting too close.

Lon Hall
Lon Hall

cannot imagine what their problem is with this. Most of the rides currently have ramps. There are wide avenues connecting all the venues. There is little infrastructure improvements that would be needed to accommodate a Segway.

Andy King
Andy King

as a parent whose kid has been run over by an electric wheelchair for doing nothing other than walking in a straight line, I'm opposed to anything that isn't human propelled.

Veronica Malvaez Isaac
Veronica Malvaez Isaac

Disabled but still able to use a Segway? I'm an able-bodied person and I'm sure I CAN'T use a Segway. Why not use a scooter like the old people use?

Matthew Morey
Matthew Morey

Has trouble getting up from sitting down? What is she going to do, stand on the rides?

René Bruce
René Bruce

Bet ya segway is paying the bills... that Co sucks !!!!

Lisa Plant
Lisa Plant

You can use a cane at Disneyland and they can be lethal weapons...this guy's attorney didn't think of that?

Vincent Gabriel
Vincent Gabriel

They should have something that moves people. People get on it and it moves the people. Make a ride out of it. Call it, "The Ride that does not stop, and might possibly kill you if you wander off the ride."

cynthia241
cynthia241

I'm going with Disney on this one, the plaintiff didn't say it was impossible to function without a Segway only that this appears to be a preference. At some point it comes down to reasonable accommodation, and Disney goes out of their way for disabled guests (as I have found myself when injured or taking an older relative) nobody is going to say they are discriminatory, this seems like a non-issue. Besides, the powers that be are not going to let Ms. Baughman bring the Segway onto their $300 million streetcar to get TO Disney in a few years anyway...

Armando Jr Solis
Armando Jr Solis

a No is a No now f*ck off.. if they would have let him, then everyone and their dog would want to bring one!

Brian J. Arra
Brian J. Arra

No to Segway. I have to admit, if anyone wants to win any lawsuit, hire a Disney Lawyer.

Aaron Roach
Aaron Roach

How about a scooter, like every fifth person in the park? I'm not even technically disabled and I don't think I could hang on a segway. Leave your toys at home.

Fernando Rios
Fernando Rios

I'm sure the guy was offered a wheelchair. He just wanted to sue someone

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Screw him. Pretty soon fatties will start riding segways around and hit some kid if he gets his way. Handicapped people who file lawsuits like this are scum. 

Erin Ramas
Erin Ramas

You can hardly walk in the park let alone use a Segway.

Venusse Dominique
Venusse Dominique

How the hell can someone even pick up speed to use a Segway in that park? Come on, folks.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Veronica Malvaez Isaac She has problems getting up from sitting position, which I suppose means many D-land rides are out, too.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Matthew Morey Doh! I shoulda read the next comment before replying above, MM.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Erin Ramas Imagine how much easier it'd be to see the parades! Or follow one.

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