A construction worker has sued Walt Disney World and others claiming he was injured in 2016 when a ditch he was digging at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom collapsed on him.

What’s happening:

  • The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Robert Howard and his wife, Terra Howard, of Citrus County, have filed a lawsuit in Orange Circuit Court following a 2016 injury.
  • Howard is seeking more than $15,000 from:
    • Disney
    • MLC Theming
    • Total Demolition Services
  • According to his lawyer, Michael Damaso, Howard was working on the ditch to lay foundation for animal cages at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • Court documents do not contain many details about the incident.
  • Damaso says they filed the lawsuit to find out what happened and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  • Neither Disney, MLC Theming, or Total Demolition Services reported any injury to OSHA according to the federal database.
  • However, according to University of Florida law professor Stephanie Bornstein, companies are only legally required to report the most serious injuries to OSHA.
  • The Sentinel also reports that they reached out to MLC Theming who did not respond, OSHA declined to comment, and “Total Demolition Services — which was listed as an inactive business since 2017 on SunBiz — could not be reached.”

What they’re saying:

  • A Disney spokeswoman in a statement: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of those who visit and work at our resort. We will respond to the allegations, as appropriate, in court.”
  • The filed lawsuit reads: “Robert W. Howard was injured as a result of a dangerous condition on the premises, to wit: an unsafe worksite.”
  • University of Florida law professor Stephanie Bornstein on OSHA requirement: “That’s what is surprising to most people. OSHA is really important in what it does, but it has limited resources and limited scope in the law.”
 
 

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