Family of Fair Accident Victim in Mass. Files Wrongful Death Suit

September 15, 2006

The family of a Shrewsbury, Mass., man who died after being thrown from a carnival ride at a church fair nearly two years ago has filed a wrongful death suit against the company that owned the ride, its president, and other parties.

The suit, which seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, was filed in Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday on behalf of the six siblings and the estate of the late mother of Andrew Fohlin.

Fohlin, 38, was thrown to his death when a seating compartment of a rapidly spinning ride known as the Sizzler broke apart in September 2004. Fohlin, a resident at a state-run facility for the mentally retarded, died from massive head trauma. Two others were injured.

“This incident led to regulatory change, a criminal prosecution, and now to get the full measure of justice, this civil process is starting,” said Bradley Henry, the attorney for the administrator of Fohlin’s estate, his sister Sylvia Fohlin. “This we hope will reach all of those responsible for Drew’s death.”

The suit names as defendants, Jaro Amusements Co. Inc., and company president John J. Keough; the carnival supervisor; an insurance company; and a private inspector.

The suit claims Jaro “failed to properly maintain, repair and inspect the subject ride, failed to follow manufacturer safety procedures and failed to maintain truthful and proper maintenance, repair and inspection records.”

It also alleges that inspector Anthony J. Rossi; the company he contracted with, MAH Consulting of Florida; and insurer T.H.E. Insurance of Florida, provided the state with false inspection documentation.

The ride supervisor, Brian McCullough, 40, of Hernando, Fla., pleaded guilty to manslaughter in March and was sentenced to 21/2 years of probation. Prosecutors said he didn’t properly fix mechanical problems on the 25-year-old ride.

State public safety officials investigated and determined that the accident was caused by loose and undersized nuts and bolts on the seat in which Fohlin was sitting.

Telephone messages left for Jaro Amusements and MAH Consulting after business hours on Wednesday were not immediately returned. There was no answer at a residential listing for Keough.

Telephone listings could not immediately be found for the others named in the lawsuit.

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