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Disabled Man Awarded $8K From Disneyland For Being Stuck On ‘It’s A Small World’

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ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — A disabled man was awarded $8,000 from Disneyland in a federal lawsuit after he became stuck for 30 minutes on the “It’s A Small World” ride.

U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled in favor, in part, for Jose. R. Martinez and his wife, Christina Buchanan-Martinez. According to court records, the judge had also earlier ruled in favor, in part, for Disneyland Resort.

The trial focused on disabled access to Disneyland’s first aid station. Disneyland spokeswoman, Suzi Brown, says that the issue has since been fixed.

Martinez, who suffered a spinal cord injury at the age of 16, became stuck on the ride on Nov. 27, 2009, and filed an official lawsuit in 2011. He suffers from chronic problems with diabetes, hypertension, and anxiety disorder, according to court records.

“Martinez’s anxiety increased as his bladder began to fill,” said Judge Selna in a ruling last November that granted Disney’s motion for summary judgement that dismissed the majority of the complaint. “Martinez also developed a severe headache and recognized that he was experiencing autonomic dysreflexia, which is often caused by an overly full bladder.”

According to Selna, Martinez did have medication for the ailment with him in his backpack, but he and his wife never made an attempt to reach it, nor did they ask a Disney employee to retrieve it.

The ride’s well-known melody played loudly on repeat until guests complained, at which point the music was turned off.

Martinez’s attorney, David Geffen, stated that his client was awarded $4,000 for “pain and suffering” and the rest was for a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Selna’s Friday ruling also stated that Disney has a duty to warn disabled guests that they could become stuck on the ride for an extended period of time, under the condition that it breaks down.

“I find a breach of the common-law duty to provide safe premises,” Selna said in his ruling. “I find that the breach caused harm to Mr. Martinez in that he was stuck on the ride. I find he was further harmed by not having the option to make an informed decision as to whether he wanted to take the ride, not-withstanding the possibility of the inconvenience in the event of an outage.”

Disneyland expressed disappointment of Friday’s ruling in a statement.

Disneyland Resort believes it provided all appropriate assistance to Mr. and Mrs. Martinez when the ride temporarily stopped and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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