The family of a disabled woman, 66, who died five months after falling on the Jungle Cruise ride says Disneyland employees laughed at the parker as she struggled to get off a boat, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit.
Joanne Aguilar, 66, visited Disneyland in August 2021 and chose to board a regular Jungle Cruise boat with the help of her daughters when park employees said a wheelchair-accessible boat was not available, according to the lawsuit filed in South California last November. .
When Aguilar was trying to leave the boat at the end of the trip, the lawsuit says she lost her balance and fell backwards, breaking her leg.
He also alleges that employees sent at the exit of the ride to help riders out not only did not help her but laughed at her as she struggled up the steps of the boat.
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“My clients have gone to Disneyland expecting to create lifelong happy memories and instead are left with the memory of a lack of dignity and respect for their mother, which ultimately led to her death,” the family’s attorney Michael Jeandron told the South. California News Group. “Two heartbroken daughters are healing and seeking accountability for Disney cast members who laughed at their struggling mother instead of helping her.”
The lawsuit says employees “placed small unsecured blocks on top of existing steps inside the boat to reduce the height of each step” as she exited the boat.
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“It was more difficult to get out of the boat because she wanted to propel her body upwards with her lower legs, which was not possible due to her disability. The struggle was evident, and the Disney cast members began to crawl. [sic] and giggling as they watched Ms. Aguilar try to safely get out of the boat,” says the lawsuit, which made Aguilar fall backwards and break her leg.
She was sent to the hospital, underwent surgery and then spent the next five months in a rehabilitation facility. She contracted an infection and died of septic shock in January last year.
The lawsuit, which names the Walt Disney company, Disney’s theme park division and Disneyland, alleges wrongful death, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and seeks monetary damages for pain, mental suffering, humiliation, medical expenses and funeral expenses.
The lawsuit was filed last November and a judge was assigned in the Santa Ana court in early January.
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Disney denied that it discriminated against Aguilar in any way and said that her injuries were caused by its own negligence in a written court response in late December. The company is seeking a jury trial.
Disney did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.