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Lawsuit over Wilderness at the Smokies mishap resolved

Matthew Lane • Sep 22, 2018 at 11:30 AM

KNOXVILLE — A million-dollar lawsuit filed over an injury sustained while riding a water slide at the Wilderness at the Smokies River Lodge in Sevierville has been dismissed.

Victor and Patricia Aguiar of Elm City, N.C., filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Knoxville in April 2017. Patricia sought $1.25 million in damages, while her husband sought $125,000.

A notice filed with the court in July says both parties stipulate to the dismissal of the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the Aguiars are barred from filing a lawsuit on the same issue at a later date.

Farrell Levy, the couple’s attorney, said in an e-mail he was unable to provide the Times News with any information about the case. Knoxville attorney Benjamin Mullins, who represented the lodge, did not respond to e-mails or phone calls about the case.

ABOUT THE LAWSUIT

According to the lawsuit, the Aguiars were business invitees to the lodge in May 2016. While Patricia and one of her children were riding the Storm Chaser Thrill Ride, Patricia was thrown from the float.

When the float came to the large area of the slide, Patricia claims she was thrust up into the air and came down with extreme force, hitting her butt bone on the slide. The lawsuit states that at all times during the ride, Patricia was following the instructions of the lifeguard and was hanging onto the float tightly.

“(Patricia) was immediately in pain. As a result of ... riding (the ride), she was injured,” the lawsuit states.

Furthermore, Patricia claims she was severely injured, underwent excruciating pain, weakness and stiffness and as a result of the injury has been unable to go about her normal activities. The lawsuit states Patricia has suffered permanent physical impairment and has undergone extensive medical treatment, incurring both medical and prescription expenses.

The Aguiars argue the defendants knew or should have known the design of the Storm Chaser Thrill Ride was defective and that the defendants failed to correct or adequately warn the couple the ride created a danger to their safety.

The lodge denied the allegations made by the Aguiars and argue that Patricia is guilty of negligence by failing to heed all of the instructions on the Storm Chaser and not holding on properly during the course of the ride.

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