Skyslide Slapped With Lawsuit By Woman Who Claims She Broke Her Ankle
It's been less than a month since the Skyslide, located on the 70th and 69th floor of the U.S. Bank Tower, opened, and there's already a lawsuit filed by a New York woman who says she was injured by the ride.
Gayle Yashar, 57, says she suffered a broken right ankle after riding the vertigo-inducing slide on July 3, according to NBC Los Angeles. She has filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court against OUE Skyspace LLC and Legends Hospitality LLC. The suit claims that the slide does not allow the rider time to sufficiently reduce their speed before reaching the bottom, and that a stack of mats at the end are a hazard. Her husband, Morty Yashar, is named as a co-plaintiff, claiming loss of consortium, meaning damages suffered by a spouse or family member.
Barry Novack, the couple's attorney, specializes in injuries that occur during amusement park rides, among other types of personal injury. He tells LAist he has a P.h.D. in engineering and has worked on cases involving various theme parks, including Disneyland, in the past.
He said Gayle Yashar is a very active person who enjoys yoga, hiking, kickboxing and other activities, and is dismayed to have a boot on her ankle for at least six weeks. She also isn't sure if she will need surgery. But the reason for the suit, he says, is to prompt the operators to make the slide safe.
"We want to catch their attention and get them to improve it," he says. "There's too short of a runout area, and there's a place at the end where the ankle gets caught, where you could sprain or fracture your ankle."
He also claims his client is not alone in being injured by the slide. According to the suit:
From the time SKYSPACE opened to the public on or about June 24, 2016 until the date of this incident on July 3, 2016, defendants became aware that riders of the SKYSLIDE were suffering injuries including an ankle fracture. Defendants knew or should have known that these injuries were caused by dangerous, unsafe and defective design and operation of the SKYSLIDE. Defendants increased the ordinary risk inherent associated with going down a slide by failing to provide a sufficiently long and continuous deceleration area of the end of the slide to allow the riders to slow down to a safe speed before encountering a change in surface elevation and change in surface coefficient of friction, and then added stacked mat at the end of the slide runout area. This created a gap that trapped the covered feet of riders. This increased the risk of serious injury for an ankle fracture which was far beyond the risk assumed by the uninformed and unsuspecting rider.
Novack sent this photo of Morty Yashar going down the slide to illustrate what he means by the gap between the mats and the slide.
He says the slide needs to be re-evaluated properly in terms of terminal velocity when the rider is going down, and, when factoring in the friction of the rider's mat against the glass, determine how long it takes to decelerate. That, he said, would tell you how long to extend the runout area.
Novack also says you can hear a crack in a video Gayle took of her ride, followed by her saying, "Ow!" as she gets up. He provided LAist with a copy of that video:
The slide is clearly fun and unique, evidenced by Gayle's laughter prior to her 'ow,' so here's hoping they can figure it all out.
We have reached out for comment from Skyspace and will update this post when we hear back.