as introduced - 79th Legislature (1995 - 1996) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to civil actions; regulating amusement park 1.3 and carnival safety; imposing duties on riders; 1.4 limiting the liability of operators; proposing coding 1.5 for new law as Minnesota Statutes, chapter 184C. 1.6 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.7 Section 1. [184C.01] [TITLE.] 1.8 This act may be cited as the "amusement park and carnival 1.9 safety and liability act." 1.10 Sec. 2. [184C.02] [PURPOSE.] 1.11 The legislature finds and declares that: 1.12 (1) amusement parks and temporary traveling carnivals, 1.13 including water-based recreational amusements, are attended by a 1.14 large number of citizens of this state and also attract to this 1.15 state a large number of nonresidents, significantly contributing 1.16 to the tourist industry of this state. Therefore, the 1.17 allocation of the risks and costs of amusement parks and 1.18 temporary traveling carnivals is an important matter of public 1.19 policy; 1.20 (2) the overall safety of amusement parks and temporary 1.21 traveling carnivals would be greatly enhanced if riders 1.22 recognize certain risks inherent in these rides and behave in a 1.23 manner conducive to their own protection and the protection of 1.24 others; 1.25 (3) the temporary carnival operator and the amusement park 2.1 operator are already the subject of significant safety 2.2 obligations and inspection requirements imposed by existing 2.3 statutes and rules. The purpose of this chapter is to make 2.4 explicit a policy in this state that recognizes that amusement 2.5 rides include risks that must be borne by those who engage in 2.6 these activities and that these risks are essentially 2.7 impractical or impossible for the operator to eliminate. It is, 2.8 therefore, the purpose of this chapter to state those risks a 2.9 rider voluntarily assumes for which there can be no recovery and 2.10 to establish a code of conduct for riders. 2.11 Sec. 3. [184C.03] [DEFINITIONS.] 2.12 Subdivision 1. [TERMS.] For purposes of this chapter, the 2.13 terms defined in this section have the meanings given them. 2.14 Subd. 2. [AMUSEMENT PARK OR TEMPORARY TRAVELING 2.15 CARNIVAL.] "Amusement park" or "temporary traveling carnival" 2.16 means a person, firm, corporation, or other business entity that 2.17 owns, leases, manages, or operates an amusement park or 2.18 amusement ride or rides. 2.19 Subd. 3. [AMUSEMENT RIDE.] "Amusement ride" includes any 2.20 device within the meaning of section 184B.01 and any other 2.21 water-based recreational amusement, including all water slides, 2.22 wave pools, and water parks. 2.23 Subd. 4. [RIDER.] "Rider" means a person attending an 2.24 amusement park or temporary traveling carnival. Rider also 2.25 includes a person who is an invitee, whether or not that person 2.26 pays consideration. 2.27 Sec. 4. [184C.04] [INTERPRETATION.] 2.28 Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as limiting the 2.29 liability and responsibility of an amusement park or temporary 2.30 traveling carnival operator under chapter 184B or the rules 2.31 adopted under that chapter, or as preventing the maintenance of 2.32 an action against an amusement park or temporary traveling 2.33 carnival for negligent construction, maintenance, or operation 2.34 of an amusement ride, or for a violation of a statute or rule. 2.35 In addition, nothing in this chapter shall be construed as 2.36 limiting or otherwise affecting the responsibility and liability 3.1 of an amusement park or temporary traveling carnival operator to 3.2 provide reasonable supervision for riders. 3.3 Sec. 5. [184C.05] [POSTING OF SAFETY RESPONSIBILITIES.] 3.4 Every amusement park or temporary traveling carnival 3.5 operator shall post the safety responsibilities in section 3.6 184C.06, and the duties, obligations, and liabilities of the 3.7 operator as prescribed in this chapter in at least five 3.8 conspicuous locations in the amusement park or temporary 3.9 traveling carnival. These notices must also include the exact 3.10 location of the place designated for receiving reports of 3.11 accidents and injuries during business hours and each place 3.12 designated as a first aid station. 3.13 Sec. 6. [184C.06] [DUTIES OF RIDERS.] 3.14 Subdivision 1. [GENERALLY.] (a) Riders shall conduct 3.15 themselves within the limits of their individual size and 3.16 ability and shall not act in a manner that may cause or 3.17 contribute to the injury of themselves or others. 3.18 (b) A rider shall not board or dismount from an amusement 3.19 ride except at a designated area, if one is provided. 3.20 (c) A rider shall not throw or expel objects from an 3.21 amusement ride. 3.22 (d) A rider shall not act in a manner contrary to posted 3.23 and stated rules while boarding, riding on, or dismounting from 3.24 an amusement ride. 3.25 (e) A rider shall not engage in an act or activity of 3.26 frolicking or horseplay that may tend to injure themselves or 3.27 others. 3.28 (f) While using amusement rides that require steering or 3.29 control of the rider or a car or device, a rider shall maintain 3.30 reasonable control of the speed at all times and shall stay 3.31 clear of other equipment, persons, or riders. A rider shall not 3.32 steer the ride in such a manner as to intentionally harm another. 3.33 (g) A rider shall not disconnect, disable, or attempt to 3.34 disconnect or disable, a safety device, seat belt, harness, or 3.35 other restraining device before, during, or after the movement 3.36 of the ride has started except at the express instruction of the 4.1 ride attendant or employee of the amusement park or temporary 4.2 traveling carnival. 4.3 (h) A rider shall not disembark or attempt to disembark 4.4 from an amusement ride before, during, or after movement of a 4.5 ride has started except upon the express written instruction of 4.6 the ride attendant or employee of the amusement park or 4.7 temporary traveling carnival operator. 4.8 (i) A rider shall not board or attempt to board an 4.9 amusement ride if the rider is knowingly under the influence of 4.10 alcohol or under the influence of any over-the-counter drug, 4.11 prescription or legend drug, or controlled substance as defined 4.12 in section 152.02, or any other substance that affects the 4.13 rider's ability to safely use the ride and abide by the posted 4.14 and stated instructions. The operator of the amusement ride may 4.15 prevent a rider who is perceptibly or apparently under the 4.16 influence of drugs or alcohol from riding an amusement ride. An 4.17 operator who prevents a rider from boarding a ride according to 4.18 this paragraph is not criminally or civilly liable if the 4.19 operator has a reasonable basis for believing that the rider is 4.20 under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 4.21 (j) A rider shall not alter or enhance the intended speed, 4.22 course, or direction of a ride by using an unauthorized device, 4.23 instrument, or method. 4.24 (k) Amusement park and temporary traveling carnival 4.25 operators shall provide posted safety instructions for each ride 4.26 where required. A rider shall not board an amusement ride 4.27 unless the rider has sufficient knowledge and ability to use the 4.28 ride. If the rider does not have this knowledge or ability, the 4.29 rider shall ask for and receive written or oral instructions 4.30 before using the ride or device. 4.31 (l) A person over the age of 13 embarking on an amusement 4.32 ride without authority or failing to pay consideration for its 4.33 use is considered to be a trespasser. 4.34 (m) A rider shall not attempt to gain access to controls of 4.35 an amusement ride designed solely to be operated by employees of 4.36 amusement parks or temporary traveling carnivals. 5.1 (n) A rider under the age of 13 is assumed to have a parent 5.2 or legal guardian who has read and explained the posted rules to 5.3 the child before the child rides the amusement ride and that 5.4 child is assumed to understand what is expected of the child. 5.5 Subd. 2. [ASSUMPTION OF THE RISK.] A rider is deemed to 5.6 have knowledge of and to assume the inherent risks of amusement 5.7 rides. Each rider is assumed to know the range of the rider's 5.8 ability. Riders shall conduct themselves within the limits of 5.9 their ability; maintain control of the rider's speed and course 5.10 at all times while riding; heed all posted and stated warnings; 5.11 and refrain from acting in a manner that may cause or contribute 5.12 to the injury of themselves or others. 5.13 Subd. 3. [EFFECT OF ASSUMING THE RISK.] The assumption of 5.14 risk set forth in subdivision 2 is a complete bar to suit and 5.15 serves as a complete defense to a suit against an operator by a 5.16 rider for injuries resulting from the assumed risks, 5.17 notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 604, relating to 5.18 comparative negligence, unless an operator has violated the 5.19 rider's duties or responsibilities under this section. 5.20 A rider over the age of 13 is deemed to have knowledge of 5.21 and assume the inherent risks of amusement rides, if those risks 5.22 are open and obvious to the reasonable person. A child under 5.23 the age of 13 is deemed to have a parent or guardian explain the 5.24 inherent risks of amusement rides as well as posted warnings if 5.25 those risks are open and obvious to a reasonable person. Each 5.26 rider must heed all posted and stated warnings and refrain from 5.27 acting in a manner that may knowingly cause or contribute to the 5.28 injury of themselves or others or in a manner contrary to 5.29 prohibited acts for riders set forth in this section. Notice of 5.30 these prohibited acts must be displayed as set forth in section 5.31 184C.05. Proof that a rider sustained an injury in the course 5.32 of knowingly acting contrary to this section is a complete bar 5.33 to suit and serves as a complete defense to a suit against an 5.34 operator by that rider, unless the operator has violated the 5.35 duties or responsibilities under section 184C.04, so as to cause 5.36 or contribute to the rider's injuries, in which case the 6.1 provisions relating to comparative negligence shall apply. 6.2 Sec. 7. [184C.07] [REPORTING OF ACCIDENTS.] 6.3 Subdivision 1. [REQUIREMENT.] As a condition to bringing a 6.4 suit in connection with an injury against an amusement park 6.5 operator or temporary traveling carnival, a rider shall report 6.6 in writing to the amusement park or temporary traveling carnival 6.7 operator all the details of an accident as soon as possible, but 6.8 in no event longer than within 90 days from the time of the 6.9 accident giving rise to the suit. 6.10 Subd. 2. [REPORTING SITE.] In order to facilitate 6.11 reporting accidents and injuries, every amusement park or 6.12 temporary traveling carnival operator shall designate an office 6.13 or location as a site for reporting accidents or injuries. The 6.14 designated office or site must be open and staffed during 6.15 regular business hours and must be clearly designated in 6.16 writing. The operator shall designate and identify more than 6.17 one office or location if necessary within the amusement park or 6.18 temporary traveling carnival so that no area containing 6.19 amusement rides is further than reasonable walking distance from 6.20 an office or location. 6.21 Subd. 3. [CONTENTS OF REPORT.] An accident report must 6.22 include at least the following: name and address of the accident 6.23 victim, brief description of incident location, alleged cause of 6.24 accident, name and address of the ride operator, others 6.25 involved, and witnesses, if any. If it is not practicable to 6.26 give the report because of severe physical disability resulting 6.27 from the accident or incident, the report shall be given as soon 6.28 as practicable. The condition in subdivision 1 is not 6.29 applicable unless the operator conspicuously posts notice of the 6.30 reporting requirement in English and other languages considered 6.31 appropriate by the amusement park or temporary traveling 6.32 carnival operator and in at least three to five different 6.33 locations on the premises, including each entrance or exit, if 6.34 any, each place designated for receiving reports of accidents 6.35 and injuries during business hours, and each place designated as 6.36 a first aid station. The department of labor and industry shall 7.1 provide the rider or the rider's representative with a copy of 7.2 the accident report as required by this section upon request. 7.3 Subd. 4. [LATE REPORT.] A rider who fails to give the 7.4 report required by this section within 90 days from the time of 7.5 the accident or incident may be permitted to give the report at 7.6 any time within one year after the accident or incident at the 7.7 discretion of a judge of the district court if the operator is 7.8 not substantially prejudiced by the delay. Application to the 7.9 court for permission to give a late report shall be made upon 7.10 motion based on affidavits showing sufficient reason for the 7.11 rider's failure to give the report within 90 days from the time 7.12 of the accident or incident. 7.13 Subd. 5. [REPORT AS NOTICE TO OPERATOR.] When the operator 7.14 files a report of an accident as required by this section within 7.15 90 days from the time of the accident, that report shall serve 7.16 as notice to the operator for the purposes of this section. 7.17 Sec. 8. [184C.08] [LIMITATION ON ACTIONS.] 7.18 (a) An action for injury or death against an amusement park 7.19 or temporary traveling carnival operator, employee, or owner, 7.20 whether based on tort or breach of contract or otherwise, must 7.21 be commenced no later than two years after the occurrence of the 7.22 incident or the earliest of incidents giving rise to the cause 7.23 of action. 7.24 (b) If an amusement ride accident or incident, or an action 7.25 based upon an amusement ride accident or incident, involves a 7.26 minor, the time limit set forth in paragraph (a) shall not begin 7.27 to run until the minor reaches the age of majority. 7.28 Sec. 9. [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 7.29 Sections 1 to 8 are effective August 1, 1995, and apply to 7.30 causes of action arising on or after that date.