Melissa Graves and Lane Graves
2-year-old Lane Graves was killed in an alligator attack at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, after he was snatched at the edge of the manmade Seven Seas Lagoon, while wading in water that reached his ankles. Lane’s father fought to free him from the ferocious gator, but was unable to do so, due to the sheer strength of the animal. Lane’s mother also jumped into the water trying to free her son.
Many are speculating the family will sue. It would be completely understandable, as they have suffered a horrific trauma due to Disney’s negligence in encouraging tourists to use a fake beach bordering an artificial lagoon they knew had become infested with alligators. Disney placed a “no swimming” sign on the fake beach, but it stated nothing about alligators.
Lane was not swimming in the water, in violation of the sign. He was standing in ankle deep water, just like people in the Disney ad for the hotel. If Disney had an alligator warning sign in the area people would not have used the fake beach bordering the artificial pond. Tourists from out of state (the Graves are from Nebraska) and the international community do not know to beware of gators in the state of Florida, but locals do. It is generally not something tourists are told, as it is not very glamorous.
Others have since come forward revealing they were on the shore at the Seven Seas Lagoon and confronted by aggressive alligators who charged at them. Guests told Disney of the problem, but their concerns were brushed off as insignificant. The mere fact Disney knew and failed to take the proper measures to protect guests and it resulted in Lane’s death, says they are liable.
Some lawyers do not have the best strategy. They let their egos get the best of them, stating they can beat and win any case. However, some cases aren’t worth winning, as the cost to your name and that of your client results in irreparable damage and public hatred. Not to mention the damage it does to the Judiciary’s name.
Disney needs to settle with the Graves if they sue, as it is the right thing to do under what must be unimaginably horrible circumstances for the family. Disney and their lawyers also need to watch what they say about the case, lest the public pounces on them.
I’ve seen a few arrogant lawyers decide to take the gloves off with victims in lawsuits only for it to destroy their clients’ businesses and cause other potential clients to run from them.
There is no question Disney is at fault - from the bad advertising showing guests in the water to numerous reports of guests complaining to staff about the alligators, the evidence does not look good. And make no mistake, if the public catches Disney in a dogfight with the Graves family in court, they will take a massive financial hit from locals and tourists turning on the resort.
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