Ballpark employee injured on Coca-Cola slide, sues

March 16, 2010 10:22:02 PM PDT
The Coca-Cola slide at the AT&T Park may be fun, but is it dangerous?

The slide has failed two safety inspections and now an employee is suing the San Francisco Giants and Coke after being hurt on it, joining a list of dozens who have also been injured.

All of those ABC7 has interviewed in the past two years who said they were hurt on the Guzzler slide were visitors to the park, but this case is different because it is the first ballpark employee who says she was injured riding the slide.

"The sole of my shoe got caught on the inwards part of the slide and took my whole leg backward while my body was still going down" 19-year-old Andrea Roberson said. She needed surgery following the accident last August. "I would never have thought of it being unsafe at all."

Nor do countless others who go to the Coca-Cola Fan Lot, where Roberson works as an attendant at the slides.

But the Guzzler has a questionable history.

"She had not been told what the Giants knew, which is that the Guzzler slide can cause serious injury," Roberson's attorney Fred Meis said.

Roberson's injury is similar to many others who suffered twisted backs and broken knees, legs and ankles on the slides.

Through court proceedings, Roberson's lawyers were able to obtain documents from the Giants and Coca-Cola which show just how many people have been injured.

During a lawsuit by Chad Mello, who also shattered his knee on the Guzzler, the court forced the Giants and Coca-Cola to release a document which lists 55 people who have suffered injuries on the slide, six of them last year.

"They've known all this time that this is a dangerous slide that doesn't comply with the law," Meis said.

Meis is referring to safety inspection reports done by two different companies for the Giants in 2007 and 2008.

One was done by David Spease, a certified playground inspector, who helped draft state safety guidelines. He gave the Guzzler a failing grade.

Inspectors from PlaySafe, the other company, also flunked the Guzzler and two other slides in the Coca-Cola Fan Lot.

In a statement to ABC7 two years ago, the Giants said, "Several million people have enjoyed the slides in the Coca-Cola Fan Lot. The slides are certified, safe and will continue to operate at ballpark events."

In a deposition taken last month, the lawyer for Coca-Cola said the slides have never been modified since they opened in 2000, even after those failed safety inspections.

The Giants declined to be interviewed, saying they do not comment on lawsuits. Coca-Cola has always deferred all statements to the Giants.


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