Madison - St. Clair Record

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Grafton ziplining company says signed release bars woman's lawsuit

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Apr 17, 2013

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Grafton Zipline Adventures Co. seeks to dismiss a St. Louis woman’s lawsuit for injuries sustained while ziplining at its facility in October.

April Dodge filed suit Feb. 15 in Madison County Court against Grafton Zipline Adventures Company and tour guide Michael Quinn.

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.

Grafton Zipline Adventures and Michael Quinn filed a motion to dismiss April 3, stating the plaintiff’s claims against Grafton Zipline and Quinn are barred by an “exculpatory agreement she signed prior to engaging in the ziplining activity.”

The release covers all claims made by the plaintiff, including claims based on injury caused by alleged negligence of Grafton Zipline and Quinn.

It describes one of the potential hazards of ziplining as “encountering objects either natural or man-made causing injury and/or death.”

Dodge claims she was injured when her foot struck a tree trunk at the base of one of the zip line runs.

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

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

Jason D. Johnson of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville represents Grafton Zipline Adventures and Michael Quinn.

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

Madison County case number 13-L-238.

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