Grafton ziplining company sued over woman's injuries on 'barn burner' route

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Feb 21, 2013

Andrew Callahan

A St. Louis woman is suing Grafton Zipline Adventures Company after allegedly breaking her heel bone while ziplining at its facility in October.

April Dodge filed suit Feb. 15 in Madison County Court. Tour guide Michael Quinn of Alton also is named as a defendant.

She claims she was part of a guided tour of Grafton Zipline Adventures, an aerial zipline course in which paying guests are guided over a series of suspended wire cable runs on which they ride from one elevated platform to another, on Oct. 28, 2012.

Dodge claims she went down the first seven runs without incident, but on the eighth run, called the “barn burner,” she was unable to break her descent.

She claims she attempted to break as instructed by Quinn, but despite her best efforts, the brake system failed.

Dodge approached the landing platform at a high rate of speed and Quinn was unable to successfully stop her. As a result, Dodge claims she violently struck the trunk of the tree on the landing where she was mounted.

She suffered a “severely comminuted fracture of the right calcaneus (heel) bone,” the lawsuit states.

Dodge claims she had to undergo surgery and physical therapy and claims she has been permanently scarred and disfigured and has been caused to suffer fear, stress and anxiety.

She claims Grafton Zipline Adventures designed the zipline course in a way that was unreasonably dangerous, allowing passengers to arrive at the landing platform at an unreasonably fast rate of speed. She also claims the company failed to train its employees on the correct procedures for safely operating the zipline course and failed to properly instruct the plaintiff on proper safety procedures for participating in the zipline course, the lawsuit states.

She seeks a judgment of more than $50,000.

She is represented by Jamie L. Boock and Andrew Callahan of Rossiter & Boock in St. Louis.

The case is assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla.

Madison County case number 13-L-238.

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