May 03, 2010
St. Louis' City Museum: The Timorous May Stay at Home (or Come Anyway and Sue)
Posted by Christine Hurt

In Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., my favorite jurist Justice Cardozo wrote this famous short sentence while dismissing a case brought by a young man injured by "The Flopper" at an amusement park:  "The timorous may stay at home."

Well, it seems that Bob Cassily, the founder (artist, sculptor and "serial entrepreneur") of St. Louis' amazingly fun City Museum agrees and wishes there were more Cardozos out there. As the WSJ notes, lawsuits are not a rare occurrence against the unique children's museum.  And, in our modern comparative negligence jurisdiction, assumption of the risk isn't what it used to be!  You know at the start that this children's museum is different -- the website recommends you wear closed-toe, closed-heel shoes.  It also recommends long pants.  So, you're on notice that there could be a little rough-n-tumble there.  Then you drive up to the museum.  Half the museum is coming out of the side, a crazy play structure, climbing contraption made out of rebar and what seems to be a wecked airplane.  All of this adds up to our favorite museum anywhere.  And even non-personal injury attorneys should love it for another reason -- it's in the old International Shoe building!

But, it seems that every once in awhile someone gets hurt and sues them.  And the founder likes to fight these lawsuits, and the museum's insurance premium reflects this ($600,000 a year, or $1 out of every $12 ticket).  In fact, to fight these suits, the museum has installed cameras so that actual injuries are recorded along with the significant absence of many recorded injuries.  The museum even has a note about frivolous lawsuits and these cameras on their webpage.

We understand that by creating a place where kids and adults can run, jump, and play, that there is a risk for injury. We are constantly doing everything we can to mitigate that risk all the while trying to protect the integrity of the museum. What exhausts us are the people that see the museum as an opportunity to perpetuate insurance fraud. We would like to let everyone know that there are cameras in the museum and people are watching to make sure that everyone is safe. In the same vein, if you say you were injured, we'll be able to see that too.

Note that the WSJ article mentions a lot of adult plaintiffs -- and so does the website.  This isn't a place where kids seem to get hurt a lot because of too much danger -- this may be a place where adults begin to act like kids and then are embarassed when they get hurt.

We find it interesting that 75% of all injures involving lawsuits are adults. Adults who run and jump into a ball pit that says both “Do not jump” and “For 6 and under”. Adults who go down a slide no less than six seconds after another adult when the sign says “One at a time” and “Wait until bottom is clear.” (These are actual things we are dealing with now.) Adults who know better or adults that don't know their limitations.

So, does our family find the City Museum to be a dangerous place? No. We find it very fun. That being said, we lost one shirt there (ripped when climbing by snagging on something). And I have to say that I fell on the skateless skate park. I would say the clumsy middle-aged should stay on the sidelines there.  But, here are some pictures to try to give you a glimpse of the three-story indoor slide and the outside climbing structure. (My only picture of the skateless skate park makes me look fat, so I'm not posting it.)  Notice we wore sneakers, but I think the long pants recommendation is new.






Torts | Bookmark

TrackBacks (0)

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Links to weblogs that reference St. Louis' City Museum: The Timorous May Stay at Home (or Come Anyway and Sue):

Recent Comments
Popular Threads
Search The Glom
The Glom on Twitter
Archives by Topic
Archives by Date
January 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Miscellaneous Links