Monday, August 17, 2015

Between Books - The People v. Disneyland

During my first experiences reading David Koenig's Disney history I began to understand that not everything in Disneyland is magic and pixie dust.  Stuff happens and some of it is not good!  Now Koenig builds on his earlier work by going in depth into Disneyland's legal history.

The People v. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic by David Koenig explores Disneyland's litigation history.  The book opens with a discussion on Disney's legal plan for the park, primarily using one firm to handle lawsuits by guests.  And Koenig explains their legal strategy, fight as many lawsuits as possible...and preferably in conservative Orange County.  This is followed by a over fifty page tour of the park which discusses the falls, trips, accidents, deaths and mishaps at each attraction and the resulting cases, settlements and judgements that have resulted from them.  Then Koenig goes into other legal confrontations with both guests and cast members related to safety, race, age and other types of discrimination.  

The People V. Disneyland is a must own for the Between Books library.  Koenig describes each legal situation in detail and generally without bias.  He is clear and easy to follow, especially for someone without a legal background.  Thanks to Koenig I have actually been able to discuss "common carriers" in an informed manner with a lawyer friend, and be knowledgeable.  So it is fair to say that I learned about Disney history and the law by immersing myself in Koenig's latest book!

The remarkable thing about Disney is they really do not lose lawsuits!  They are prepared legally, generally have strong paperwork showing they made their best effort, and at times have been intimidating to former guests to scare off litigation.  In fact, if anything it makes me sad as I read about situations in which Disney behaves "shadily".  I keep telling myself, that is all in the past.  So maybe I have gotten to close to the Pixie Dust.  It really is terrifying how Disney at times has gone into a bunker mode not calling in the local police or EMTs in a prompt manner when tragedies have occurred.  And I will argue at times it looks like they have destroyed evidence by cleaning the scene of accidents.  But we must all remember this is a small city and accidents will happen.  When accidents happen and guests are either unhappy or unfairly treated, that is when lawsuits spring up including nuisance cases and legitimate attempts to make right what went wrong!

Koenig not only provides a chronicle of Disneyland's litigation history, but he also uncovers trends in Disney's legal success.  He actually provides a how-to list for readers on how to properly take Disneyland to court and have a slim chance of winning!  So along with being a history book, The People V. Disneyland provides practical advice for those attempting to use the courts to have a situation made right by Disneyland.

The People v. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic by David Koenig is a book that shows a darker side of Disney.  What happens when the courts are brought to Disneyland?  First, lawyers have changed the park for the better by increasing safety and for the worst by removing some of the fun to limit lawsuits.  Second, if you claim that you were bumped on Autopia and it is Disneyland's fault, you might want to prepare to go to court and lose.  Because as can see from the signs, everyone has been warned not to bump but bumping happens.  And Disneyland warned you.  So be prepared to lose!  There's magic to legally protect here.    

Review Copy Provided by Publisher 

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