How’s this for a company picnic gone bad?
A company hires an entertainment company to set up a Eurobungy bungee-trampoline. To use the equipment, an operator straps a user into a harness, and then controls how high he or she is lifted.
During one partygoer’s jump, the operator began lifting the man before his feet had a chance to hit the trampoline, causing injury to his left arm. He had immediate pain in the arm and was diagnosed with a hypertension injury and rupture of the distal biceps tendon. He had surgery and physical therapy to the tune of $8,500, and continues to suffer the effects of the accident.
Both the injured man and his wife (an employee of the company whose picnic it was) filed lawsuits as follows:
- against the companies that rented the Eurobungy equipment and provided the operator alleging they failed to properly train the operator
- against the manufacturer of the device for failing to provide adequate warnings and safety instructions
- against the establishment where the party took place for allowing a hazardous activity on its premises
The defendants also impleaded — brought into the suit — the company that organized the picnic.
The parties settled during mediation for $307,500:
- $252,000 from one rental company
- $37,500 from the manufacturer
- $10,000 from the party’s venue
- $5,000 from the other rental company
- $2,500 from the company (the wife’s employer) who arranged the picnic.
This case demonstrates how mediation can be effective in resolving a dispute and bringing about justice for an injured person. Mediation can save all the parties a lot of money and uncertainty. This form of “Alternative Dispute Resolution” also enables the parties to resolve their differences without appeals, litigation expenses, unfavorable press coverage and publicity.