Dollywood, New Jersey woman settle federal lawsuit

Matthew Lane • Sep 28, 2019 at 9:00 AM

GREENEVILLE — A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit against Dollywood, where a New Jersey woman claimed she fell and injured her wrist as she was getting off the Rockin’ Roadway ride.

Judy Lynn Etherton filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in March 2018. The lawsuit names the Dollywood Co., Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. and Dolly Parton Productions as the defendants.

According to the lawsuit, Etherton claims she fractured her right wrist after attempting to the exit the Rockin’ Roadway ride at Dollywood. The incident took place on March 19, 2017, and Etherton was seeking $400,000 in damages.

In court documents filed last month, lawyers for both Etherton and Dollywood stipulate the dismissal of the lawsuit, with each side bearing its own attorneys fees.

“With respect to the case, all we’re at liberty to say is the matter is concluded with an out-of-court settlement and the terms are confidential,” said Tom Scott, the attorney for Etherton.

The Times News also reached out to Dollywood and the company’s attorney for a comment, but neither responded.

According to the initial complaint, the cars in the Rockin’ Roadway ride do not have doors, and riders have to step over the side of the ride to get into and out of the cars. Etherton claims she did so and as a result, her foot caught the side of the car and caused her to be thrown to the ground, fracturing her right wrist.

The lawsuit claims the fall was due to there being no safety devices in place to assist people from exiting the ride.

Here were the claims made against the defendants:

- Failure to properly operate and maintain the Rockin’ Roadway ride.

- Failure to properly instruct guests about a safe exit from the ride.

- Failure to adequately supervise and oversee patrons to prevent them from injuring themselves when exiting the ride.