Disney rebukes lawsuit over fatal hotel fall

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Disney is attacking a lawsuit filed by the family of a travel agent who died from an alleged fall at a Disney World resort in 2020.

The theme park company points to the details missing in the lawsuit — including how Jessica Straub died and where the alleged incident took place at Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort — as Disney recently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit previously filed in June in Orange Circuit Court. Judge Vincent Chiu has not responded to Disney’s motion yet, according to court records.

Straub, 43, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, died Dec. 22, 2020, from blunt head trauma after falling at a standing height, according to information released earlier by the District Nine Medical Examiner’s Office in response to a Florida Politics request. The medical examiner’s office ruled her death an accident.

Four days before her death, she had visited Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort, her lawsuit said. The lawsuit doesn’t provide a timeline for events leading up to her death or say how the fall happened other than Straub “suffered bodily injury” and experienced “blunt force trauma to the head” as well as eventually death.

The lawsuit accused Disney employees of being negligent and the resort of having unsafe conditions.

Disney pounced on the omission of facts in its motion to dismiss the suit and said the lawsuit had been improperly filed.

“Even after a thorough consideration of all six pages of the Complaint, the reader is left wondering what allegedly happened to Ms. Straub and how it was supposedly Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ fault,” Disney said in court documents filed July 19.

Disney, calling it “vague and scattershot,” said the lawsuit was “little more than a collection of legal conclusions and jurisdictional allegations.”

“Noticeably absent are: any description or allegation explaining what or whom allegedly inflicted the ‘bodily injury’ on Ms. Straub; what the specific nature of the ‘bodily injury’ was; where in the roughly 200 acres that comprise Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Caribbean Beach Resort the injury allegedly occurred; or when in the four-day time-period referenced in the Complaint Ms. Straub’s injury occurred,” Disney said in the motion. “The lack of such details makes it … impossible for (Disney) to decipher how Plaintiff claims it is liable and mandates the dismissal of the Complaint.”

The lawsuit was filed by Justin Morrison on behalf of Straub’s estate. Morrison was listed as Straub’s cousin in her obituary.

Disney asked for documents to prove Morrison was in fact the personal representative of Straub’s estate.

Morgan & Morgan, the law firm handling the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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