Haunted Hall settlement
Jul 21, 2015 at 12:27 PM
“The matter was settled — that is all I can say,” said Michael Brower, a board member of the Western Youth Leadership Development, which runs the annual spook show.
The Haunted Hall is an annual fundraiser for Spring Lake Boy Scouts. It originally took place in the Spring Lake Village Hall, but has moved to other locations as space availability changes.
Muskegon resident Stacey Sidock went to the Haunted Hall in 2011 with her 11-year-old daughter. Sidock suffered a broken leg at the attraction, she claimed in a lawsuit that was filed on her behalf in June 2012.
The Haunted Hall at that time was located in a factory building at 17155 VanWagoner Road in Spring Lake Township.
Sidock’s attorney, Robert Chessman, said his client changed her mind about entering the Haunted Hall through the confined space of a closed coffin, but was told that was the only way out. Sidock entered the coffin, which had a bottom that dropped out and dropped her onto a slide. She claimed in the lawsuit that she was told the bottom would not drop out.
Sidock claimed she suffered shock, mental anguish and medical expenses after breaking her leg in the drop. She asked for more than $25,000 in damages in the suit.
Chessman previously said that his client's medical expenses from this incident totaled about $20,000.
Brower previously said this was the first such complaint in the 13-year history of the Haunted Hall.
“I believe that our excellent safety track record for the past 13 years speaks for itself,” he said.
Ralph Chapa, an attorney for the insurance company that covered the attraction, said he believes “the case was very defensible.” He would not comment further.
Chessman did not return a phone call before press time.
The Haunted Hall did not take place in 2012, but that was mainly because the organization could not find a proper location for it, Brower said.
“The board and all of our members are extremely glad this is behind us,” Brower said. “We can move on with the Haunted Hall and all of our other fundraisers.”
Brower said they plan to host a Haunted Hall this coming October, but are still looking for a suitable building.
Brower said a building big enough to hold all of the props and still have the safety features of a sprinkling system and proper exits is needed. He said it will likely be in Muskegon.
The Western Youth Leadership Development is also working on expanding its operations to other groups beyond the Boy Scouts, Brower said.