Mother files lawsuit against Florida Legoland Waterpark
A Florida mother filed a lawsuit against Legoland alleging that her 10-year-old son was humiliated and nearly drowned at a waterslide when he was required to remove his prosthetic leg.
Aleisha Mullinax is accusing the Winter Haven theme park of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and inflicting emotional distress in a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Tampa.
The incident occurred on July 16, 2020, during a family trip to Legoland. According to court documents, Mullinex and her two sons, the 10-year-old and a 5-year-old, arrived at the theme park and immediately apprised a manager of her son’s “water-qualified prosthetic leg” which he requires for both walking and swimming.
The manager told Mullinex that in the event the prosthetic leg might need to be removed to go on a ride, he would be able to put it in his lap or take it with him.
The family then went out to enjoy the park. After the boy climbed six flights of stairs to the top of a waterslide, according to the lawsuit, an employee made him take off the leg and leave it at the top of the slide while Mullinax waited at the bottom with her 5-year-old child who was not old enough to go on that ride.
The boy reluctantly removed his prosthetic leg as requested and rode the slide to the bottom where he struggled to swim to the steps. According to the suit, no lifeguards had been made aware that a disabled boy was going down the slide or came to assist him as he fought to exit the water.
When he finally emerged, Mullinex asked an employee to retrieve the boy’s leg from the top of the stairs and the family waited 20 minutes for the employee to return with the leg.
The boy, stranded, was brought to tears by the situation and was made a spectacle in front of strangers, his mother says.
Since the incident, the boy has recurring nightmares about drowning, has difficulty sleeping, displays symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and has had to undergo counseling for residual trauma, the suit alleges.
“I’ve always raised him to be to be a confident little boy; there’s nothing that he can’t do. I’m trying to get him back to that because this has messed with him a little. He’s afraid this might happen to him again,” Mullinax said.
The family’s attorney, Rook Elizabeth Ringer of The Lento Law Group, said it is hard to determine which was worse, causing a 10-year-old boy to nearly drown by requiring him to remove his leg, or failing to notice that he was almost drowning when forced to swim without the leg.
“The actions of Legoland Beach Retreat’s employees here send a clear message to all visitors with disabilities: You take your life into your own hands every time you visit this attraction,” Ringer said.
A spokesperson for the park said they were unable to comment on the pending legislation but stressed the park’s commitment to safety: “Safety is our number one priority at Legoland Florida Resort. We are not able to provide comments on specific pending legal matters. While we do not comment on specific cases, we are fully committed to providing an awesome experience for all our guests, including individuals with different abilities. Every attraction, across our theme park, water park and hotels, meets or exceeds safety guidelines from state agencies and attraction manufacturers.”
The lawsuit, which was filed December 2, 2020, seeks unspecified damages.
This is not the first time Legoland has been sued over how it handles children with prosthetic legs.
In April, 2019, Josias and Sarahy Suarez filed a federal lawsuit alleging their 9-year-old, who wears two prosthetic legs, was told he could not ride attractions at the park because he didn’t have “one real leg.” The lawsuit is still pending.