Disabled Man Stranded on "It's a Small World" Ride Awarded $8,000

Other riders were able to disembark the ride, but the wheelchair-bound plaintiff was stuck

By Tena Ezzeddine
|  Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013  |  Updated 1:40 PM EDT
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Other riders were able to disembark the ride, but the wheelchair-bound plaintiff was stuck. Tena Ezzeddine reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on March 26, 2013.

Tena Ezzeddine, Sue Monroe

Other riders were able to disembark the ride, but the wheelchair-bound plaintiff was stuck. Tena Ezzeddine reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on March 26, 2013.

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A wheelchair-bound man was awarded $8,000 by Disneyland after the "It's A Small World" ride broke, stranding him for a half hour while the theme song played continuously, according to an attorney for the plaintiff.

Jose Martinez, who suffers from panic attacks and high blood pressure, did not medically stabilize for three hours after the ride broke down in 2009, attorney David Geffen said.

"He has panic disorder and that was really what started everything rolling," Geffen said. "What caused the court concern, as well, because Disney was alerted about his panic problem and didn't call for the fire department right away."

Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the Anaheim theme park believes it provided appropriate assistance during the incident, and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree.

Martinez uses a wheelchair, and Geffen said the plaintiff's high blood pressure was aggravated by a need to urinate while he was stuck on the ride.

While the other riders were able to get off, Martinez was stuck until he could access his wheelchair.

Half the award ordered last week is for pain and suffering, and the rest is for a violation of disability law, Geffen said.

Brown told NBC4 the violation concerning the height of the counter in Disneyland’s first aid station has been corrected.

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