First off, Baton Rouge personal injury attorney J. Price McNamara and the rest of his staff would like to wish all our readers a most joyous first day of fall. You know what the first day of fall means, right? Yep, Halloween is just around the corner. With Halloween fast approaching, something else follows in its wake; the onset of major theme parks once again rebooting their famous horror themed celebrations.
That’s right, ghouls, goblins, werewolves, vampires, and leather mask laden, chainsaw wielding fiends will soon be emerging from the copious amounts of fog billowing about Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and of course Universal Studios. At this time of year, as the sun begins to set, these locations which are famous for being a hoot to the entire family become a hoot for only those with strong constitutions and a literal nightmare for the faint of heart, the young, and the unsure footed.
It just so happens that a 57 year-old woman by the name of Cleanthi Peters, who decided to bring her ten-year-old granddaughter to Universal Studios Horror Night, encompasses all of the latter mentioned criteria.
In other words, sit back folks, grab a flashlight, and get ready for the tale of “The Scream, The Slip, and The Unsure Suit” because we’re here to clear the water once and for all.
Frivolous Lawsuits Can Be A Real Fright
Last week, we posted an article listing off some of the most frivolous personal injuries cases that have ever made it to court. Everyone loves to hear about cases that seem as though any judge would toss them out, only to find that the plaintiff not only won the case, but was awarded a substantial amount of money.
Unfortunately, many of the most famous and deliciously ridiculous personal injury cases you can find on the internet are false. Like the tale of Terrence Dickson, a burglar from Bristol, PA, who upon attempting to leave a house he had just burgled found himself trapped in the garage of said home for eight days, surviving off of dog food and pepsi. He then allegedly sued the garage door manufacturer for mental anguish and was awarded $500,000. This case? Fabricated.
This same conundrum of confusing facts is the boat we found ourselves in when delving deeper into the case of Cleanthi Peters, who allegedly took Universal Studios to court for making their hallowed horror night “too scary.” She claimed to have suffered extreme fear, mental anguish, and emotional stress.
It appears the internet has a plethora of information about this case loaded and at the ready for any curious reader to gobble up. Many of the articles regarding Peters and her fright night at Universal Studios claim the same facts, but conflicting outcomes. Some sites, like yoshalaw.com, claim that Peters’ cries of terror paid off. Other sources, like cracked.com, claim the case never even happened.
Well, it turns out that both sites are wrong. In fact, almost everyone who reported in this “case” is wrong.
What Really Happened to the Wayward Cleanthi Peters and Her Young Universal Studios Companion?
Well, they got the bejeebers scared out of them, that much is true. Peters and her ten-year-old granddaughter were most definitely not ready for the fright they found at Universal Studios Horror Night that night in 1998. So they did what any normal, breathing human being would do upon finding themselves overwhelmed by fear; they bee-lined it toward the nearest exit.
However, this is where the water starts to get murky. For instance, many sources, like techblog.com, claim that Peters took Universal Studios to court because of an overly zealous, fake chainsaw wielding, maniac employee jumped out from some uncertain location and scared both she and her granddaughter “too much.”
Let’s try and not get caught up in the lunacy that someone would actually attempt to take a company they paid to scare them to court for doing exactly what is was they paid them to do; scare them.
“You did too good of a job, Universal Studios! Now pay me!” That kind of thinking is something the media can run with, and is exactly what caused the facts to be lost in the first place.
Dig a little deeper and you will start to see resources, like all-funny.info, who recount a portion of Peters story that is often omitted. After being scared Peters and her granddaughter turned tale, ran, and slipped in a puddle of water.
Ok, now we’re getting warmer.
However, most of the resources who go the extra mile and recount this portion of the story still claim there was a lawsuit. This is the part that’s a frightening Halloween Fabrication. Yes, readers; the lawsuit is a lie!
So, Who’s Telling the Truth?
The facts are that if Peters and her young companion did indeed slip and fall in a puddle of water, this is where a case can enter personal injury territory and where most companies will approach the victim directly, offering them an amount of money to keep the case out of court. As going to court is expensive, and the truth is a company should have signs out warning patrons of slippery floors.
As for us, we have to give ourselves a pat on the back, because the only conclusive and reliable information that discusses with some certainty the outcome of Peters’ incident at Universal Studios is a footnote at the bottom of a page 175 in a book titled Off Course: Inside the Mad Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing. Don’t ask us how we found this, or how a 57 year-old grandmother who slipped and fell in a puddle of water while running from a phony maniac ended up in a book about obstacle course racing.
We didn’t read that far.
That wasn’t what we were there for.
We were there for one thing and one thing only – this quote; “In 1998, Cleanthi Peters went to the Halloween Horror Nights Haunted House at Universal Studios with her grandson. Two Years later, claiming the experience had caused her ‘extreme fear, mental anguish, and emotional distress’ she sued the company for $15,000. The case was settled out of court.”
Holy light saber wielding jedi masters! Would you look at that? It turns out not only was everyone wrong, they were also right… to an extent.
Peters did attempt to sue Universal Studios, but the case never made it to court and there was no lawsuit because the case was settled out of court!
Huzzah! The truth rears its buried face from the pages of a completely unrelated book!
But the fact that Peters’ “case” turned out to be an agreement reached outside of court walls that amounted in compensation whose form or amount cannot be specified is not the most ground shaking parking of this whole ordeal.
What really blew our socks off, you ask?
Well, did anyone else notice the something strange about that quote?
PETERS’ GRANDDAUGHTER IS A BOY!
*Cue conclusionary music, surprised screams, and fainting women*
Long Live Books, Authors, and Works Cited Pages
In the end we chose to believe that the information we unearthed in that random novel is most likely closest to the truth.
Because despite our efforts to find some sort of truth about this haunted grandmother on the internet, we only ended up running in circles, sobbing about how everything is so confusing and wondering why it appears cats have taken over the web.
So… Many… Cat… Videos… Must look away…
Then a ray of light hit us in the form of a footnote found in a published book, with cited sources and an unbiased author who mentioned aspects of the case no one else had; the fact that it was settled out of court.
And there you have it, folks. As the saying goes “the truth will out!”
However, one fact still remains, and that is if Peters and her granddaughter-son had truly slipped in a puddle of water at the park, this could have constituted grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
So, if you are running from any ghouls this halloween at an amusement park and find yourself flat on your back in a puddle of water, give us a call. We will take it from there.
Until then readers, happy haunting and Godspeed.
Following graduation from Loyola Law School in New Orleans in 1990, Price McNamara served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M Shaw, Chief Judge, United States District Court Western District of Louisiana.
Mr. McNamara founded the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, and began putting his past experience to work for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies in personal injury and long term disability and other insurance disputes in both federal and state courts