The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

Cute But Malevalent Dolphins Named In Personal Injury Lawsuit

When in doubt, blame it on the dolphins.

The plaintiff in a slip-and-fall injury case that made headlines (Chicago Tribune) all over Chicago earlier this summer has amended her complaint to provide a little more detail. The amendment isn't extremely newsworthy but it does give us an excuse to talk about this quite amusing case that points the finger at a pack of mischievous dolphins (in all seriousness, though, it did cause serious injury to the plaintiff's knee).

Basically, plaintiff Allecyn Edwards slipped and fell as she left the seating area after a dolphin show at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. Edwards was taken to the hospital in an ambulance for her injuries, costing her $25,000, but her complaint alleges nonpayment of those costs by the Zoo's insurer. 

Anyone who has attended one of these aquatic performances knows it can get a little wet -- which in itself is no excuse for dangerous conditions -- but her suit makes a fishy claim about the marine mammals' intent (taken directly from the complaint):

"The staff trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators."

Aha! Now if she only had videotaped the dolphins rubbing their fins together and laughing maniacally as Edwards flailed helplessly next to the tank, then she really would have nailed them. In terms of liability, though, it most likely was the zoo's responsibility for "training and encouraging" their sick, sadistic behavior.

Unless the two parties' attorneys can find an expert who speaks dolphinese, they'll never get to the bottom of this. But Edwards' counsel, Chicago personal injury lawyer Edward G. Proctor, Jr., may be able to finagle a victory on the grounds that the Zoo could have provided a safer path for spectators.

Meanwhile, dolphins everywhere are high-finning each other for a rare victory against a human. Seriously, though, I do wish Ms. Edwards a speedy recovery and a satisfactory legal outcome -- but c'mon, blaming the dolphins?