Confidential Settlement Involving Disneyland’s Columbia


Aitken Aitken Cohn represented the grieving family of a 34-year-old man who was killed on Christmas Eve in front of his wife and children as they waited to board Disneyland’s “Columbia” Sailing Ship.

On that fateful evening, a defective cleat broke loose and struck both the man and his wife, killing him and horribly disfiguring her face.

This case, nationally referred to as the “Columbia Boat Incident,” sparked national debate on the safety of theme parks and brought about several theme park regulations into California law.

It took Anaheim police over 4 hours to arrive at the scene that Disneyland had already cleared and cleaned. This led to harsh public criticism of accident procedures at Disney.

As a result, Disney undertook radical safety enhancements, and Anaheim police and paramedics are now stationed in the park to increase emergency response times. Theme park safety laws were also passed.

RESULT: The final settlement amount is confidential, but The Los Angeles Times estimates the case settled for $25,000,000.