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Disney seeks to get lawsuit in worker's death dismissed

Russell Roscoe struck, killed at Animal Kingdom in 2011

Local 6 News at 7:00p
Local 6 News at 7:00p

ORLANDO, Fla. – Lawyers for Disney, and lawyers representing the family of a former Disney worker, were in court Monday in Orange County. Both sides made arguments before a judge involving the death of Russell Roscoe, a 52-year-old Disney mechanic who died during a test run on Animal Kingdom in 2011.

Roscoe was killed when another Disney employee released a test car as Roscoe was still on the tracks.

Attorneys representing the Roscoe family argued that their client should have never been allowed on the tracks in the first place during testing, and that a supervisor did not issue proper warning before releasing the car, which fatally struck the worker.

"We're alleging it's more than that," said Brian Denney, the plaintiff's attorney. "Either he wasn't paying attention, or based on the evidence, he knew where Mr. Roscoe was and launched it anyway."

Attorney Fank Hosley, representing Disney, pushed for the claims to be dismissed. Hosley stated that the ride issued a warning that car was about to leave the station, and that the cars themselves make loud noises as they maneuver through the course up to the point on the track where Roscoe was standing. All of those details were used to make the case that Roscoe should have known the roller-coaster car was coming and moved out of the way before impact. 

Attorneys for Roscoe's family will look to pursue damages via trial if a judge approves its advancement, but Disney argues that Roscoe's family should receive worker's compensation instead.

Denney said he believes otherwise.

"I think the circumstances cut around worker's compensation," Denney said. "That's what we're here to argue today."

The judge proceeding over the hearing Monday said he'll look to make his decision on the case in the next seven days.