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Magic Mountain seeks dismissal of traumatic brain injury case


Santa Clarita couple sue amusement park

Magic Mountain is seeking dismissal of allegations pertaining to the theme park that were filed by a Santa Clarita husband and wife after the woman allegedly suffered a traumatic brain injury and other medical complications while riding the X2 roller coaster in 2020.

Sheila Katerelos, 53, and her 50-year-old husband, Ari, brought the suit against Magic Mountain LLC, Six Flags Theme Park Inc. and other parties, alleging negligence, strict product liability, negligent product liability and loss of consortium. Sheila Katerelos’ injuries occurred at the Valencia theme park on Feb. 16, 2020. She will continue to incur medical expenses and will be unable to work for the foreseeable future, the suit filed in November 2021 states.

Magic Mountain attorneys maintain in court papers filed Wednesday with Chatsworth Superior Court Judge Stephen P. Pfahler that an investigation into Sheila Katerelos’ claims by an engineering expert undermines her allegations.

“(Katerelos) was properly restrained in the X2 ride seat,” the Magic Mountain lawyers state in their court papers. “Plaintiff did not have any concerns about her ride restraints or her ride seat on the X2, before the ride was dispatched from the X2 ride station.”

A biomechanical engineering expert, Robert Cargill, conducted data regarding the ride’s forces, it showed that the X2 did not produce sufficient ride forces to cause a subdural hematoma or a traumatic brain injury in Katerelos, park lawyers maintain in their court papers.

“Additionally, there were no known component part failures on the X2 ride that would potentially cause injuries to riders,” according to the Magic Mountain attorneys, who further state in their court papers that the head restraint padding design and the low acceleration forces indicate the ride cushion was sufficient.

“Tellingly, (Katerelos) had a medical history of hypertension and the signage warned that individuals with hypertension should not ride,” Magic Mountain lawyers further contend in their court papers. “Ultimately, the ride signage provided sufficient information for a rider to evaluate whether to take part in the ride and to properly ride the X2 ride.”

The park attorneys also maintain in their court papers that Ari Katerelos’ cause of action “fails as a matter of law.”

The roller coaster had a design defect and the theme park failed to warn visitors of its potential danger, according to the suit, which further states that Ari Katerelos has been deprived of the comfort and affection of his wife because of her injuries.

A hearing on Magic Mountain’s dismissal motion is scheduled Jan. 16, 2024.