Defense: Girl should have known haunted house would include scary things; Motion to dismiss filed by City of Alton

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Dec 6, 2012

A lawsuit against the City of Alton over injuries sustained by a girl visiting a haunted house attraction should be dismissed because the plaintiff's claims “utterly fail to state a cause of action from which relief can be granted,” the defense claims.

Belleville attorney Charles Pierce filed a motion to dismiss Tuesday, stating the lawsuit is without merit and should be dismissed with prejudice for lack of any duty owed.

Terry Ganz filed the suit Oct. 26 in Madison County Court against American Legion Post 126 and the City of Alton, as well as individuals who managed the attraction.  Ganz sued on behalf of his daughter who was allegedly injured while being chased by a chainsaw-yielding character on Oct. 29, 2011, at the house located at 1211 Henry Street.

“The plaintiff by voluntarily participating in a haunted house, has assumed the risk of any injury, including being frightened," Pierce wrote. "Any reasonable person entering such an environment would expect to encounter dimly-lit areas, loud noises and potentially scary or distracting displays."

“This is the very nature of a haunted house and has been so for decades. As a matter of law, there can be no duty owed to the plaintiff to safeguard her from these items. If plaintiff wishes not to encounter strobe lights and scary objects, then she should not have voluntarily participated in a haunted house.”

Gansz claims the haunted house tour directed patrons through a walled passage to a ramp with an entry to the rear of a haunted bus. A strobe light was in the rear of the bus, directed downward into the dimly lit walled passage, according to the lawsuit.

Dennis Sharp and Steven Haug, who organized, designed and supervised the haunted house attraction, are also named in the lawsuit.

Sharp has denied negligence.

Attorney Michael Murphy represents Sharp.

Attorney J. Robert Edmonds represents the plaintiff.

Madison County Case number 12-L-1756.

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