A woman claims she was injured after riding the Giant Slide at Mammoth Park in Mt. Pleasant, and she is issuing an 11-count lawsuit against the park, the 5th in a series of suits other claimants filed in the past few years.
The plaintiff, Deanna Betras, says she was injured on September 3, 2021, where she, according to court documents, was forcibly pinned on her back and “violently thrown about” as she rode down the 100-foot slide. Among her injuries, Detras claims she sustained back and shoulder injuries, bruises, and contusions as well as psychological damages (i.e. nervousness, emotional tension, anxiety, and depression) resulting from the incident. She also says she has undergone extensive pain management treatment and may even require surgery for her injuries.
In her suit, Betras names Westmoreland County (which owns the 408-acre park) as well as the slide’s designers, marketing company, architect, and inspectors as defendants, claiming slides were improperly designed, defectively manufactured, and lacked adequate warnings and instructions.
KDKA reached out to the Westmoreland County Solicitors’ Office for comment, but solicitor Melissa Guiddy declined, and KDKA was told that the county doesn’t comment on pending legal actions.
This is not the first time Mammoth Park has faced legal troubles. Since the slide’s opening in July 2020, the park has faced four different lawsuits between 2020 and 2021. An Allegheny County woman claimed she was injured by the ride in August 2020, followed by another woman from Allegheny County a month later. A woman from Fayette County and one from the Buffalo, NY area also filed subsequent lawsuits after claiming injuries from the slide.
The county shut down the slide in August 2020 after the park received multiple complaints about potential injuries riders sustained. Officials blamed the injuries on people who did not follow the ride’s safety guidelines, and the slides remained closed for the next 10 months as instructions on how to use the ride were refined and safety measures (e.g. netting) were installed. The attraction was then reopened in June 2021.
What differentiates Betras’ suit from the others is that Betras claims she was injured after the ride’s reopening and after Westmoreland County instituted the additional safety measures and updated signage. Betras is requesting a jury trial for punitive and compensatory damages in addition to court costs but did not specify the damages she or her attorney are seeking. Betras’ lawyer, Richard Talarico of Pittsburgh, has yet to return calls for comment.
Whether things go downhill for the defendants may depend on how the ensuing lawsuit unfolds.