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Settlement reached from Western Montana Fair 2018 accident

Western Montana Fair Carnival
Posted at 10:17 AM, Oct 14, 2022

MISSOULA — A settlement agreement reached between Missoula County and three other parties stemming from a 2018 accident at the Western Montana Fair brings to an end any and all claims one party held against another, the county said.

Deputy County Attorney John Hart said the mutual settlement agreement and release comes on the heels of a lawsuit settled in early September when the parents of an 11-year-old girl filed a claim against the county and other defendants after their child fell from an amusement park ride.

“Each entity, including Missoula County, is releasing any and all claims they might have against each other,” Hart said. “There was a lot of finger-pointing during litigation between the carnival operator, the carnival ride manufacturer, and the company that did the carnival ride inspections. To the extent that anyone has claims against Missoula County, this document will protect us moving forward.”

In August 2018, emergency personnel responded to reports of an injured girl at the county fairgrounds just before 7 p.m. The girl had fallen from a carnival ride dubbed the Typhoon and was transported to the hospital.

The ride was subsequently shut down. The following day, a county spokesperson cited police reports suggesting the girl was in serious condition.

After the accident, Michael Pfaff and Tabitha Manyhides filed a complaint naming North Star Amusement and Missoula County as defendants and sought to recover for injuries, damages, and other losses sustained by the child.

North Star then filed a third-party complaint against LJM – a ride inspection company based in Florida – and ARM USA, the company that manufactured the Typhoon. The mutual settlement agreement signed by the county releases the four parties from any further claims.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, including the contributions of North Star, LJM, and ARM, which the agreement “deemed confidential.”

“I think it ended well,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick, who participated in the settlement agreement.