TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida mother has filed a lawsuit in federal court over her 10-year-old son’s near-drowning during a trip to Legoland in July.
According to the lawsuit, a Legoland Beach Retreat employee ordered Aleisha Mullinax’s son to remove his prosthetic leg before going down a waterslide.
Since the July 16 visit to the park in Winter Haven, Florida, the lawsuit alleges, the boy has had recurring nightmares of drowning and suffers from post-traumatic stress symptoms.
“Something in my heart told me I had to do the right thing, and not just for my son, said Mullinax. “I care about every single child that has been treated this way. I’m a mom, and I would just really hate for this to keep happening to little children.”
According to the lawsuit, when Mullinax took her son and his 5-year-old sibling to Legoland, she explained to the manager that her son was wearing a special “swimming leg” designed to be used in water. The manager told her if her son had to remove the leg, he could put it in his lap or take it with him on a ride.
After the boy climbed six flights of stairs to the top of a waterslide, the lawsuit says, an employee made him take off the prosthetic leg and leave it at the top of the slide.
Mullinax’s son complied and when he got to the bottom, he struggled to swim to the edge of the pool where, according to the lawsuit, no lifeguards nor any Legoland employees helped him.
The lawsuit says the mother had to wait more than 20 minutes for an employee to retrieve her son’s leg from the top of the slide.
“It is hard to determine what was worse, that a Legoland Beach Retreat employee could allegedly cause a 10-year-old boy with disabilities to almost drown by ordering him to remove a prosthetic leg and forbid him from taking it with him on a waterslide, or that no lifeguards or employees noticed the boy was almost drowning when he was forced to swim without the leg,” said the mother’s lawyer, Rook Elizabeth Ringer, of The Lento Law Group.
The lawsuit claims Legoland violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“The actions of Legoland Beach Retreat’s employees here send a clear message to all visitors with disabilities: You take your life into your own hands every time you visit this attraction,” Ringer said.
WFLA reached out to Legoland about the lawsuit and received this response:
“Safety is our number one priority at Legoland Florida Resort. We are not able to provide comments on specific pending legal matters. While we do not comment on specific cases, we are fully committed to providing an awesome experience for all our guests, including individuals with different abilities. Every attraction, across our theme park, water park and hotels, meets or exceeds safety guidelines from state agencies and attraction manufacturers.”