An Akron man has been awarded more than $365,000 in damages for an injury he suffered at a Hocking County adventure sports business in 2019. It remains to be seen whether he will collect any or all of that sum, however, as the company that ran the park has not existed since July 2020.
In a legal complaint filed in October 2020 in Hocking County Common Pleas Court, husband and wife plaintiffs Erik and Mikaela Etapa sued R Adventure Park, LLC (RAP), claiming that Erik Etapa was injured while taking part in a recreational activity there, apparently paintball.
The lawsuit stated that on Oct. 5, 2019, Erik Etapa “was a business invitee upon the premises of RAP” on Sauer Kraut Road in Logan, “when he fell on an unusually sharp and dangerous object, suffering a severe leg laceration.” The suit claimed that RAP knew people playing paintball at the business “would be running, sliding, crawling and falling.” It further alleges that the company “had actual and/or constructive knowledge of the unusually dangerous object” that injured Erik Etapa.
Despite this knowledge, the complaint alleged, RAP “was negligent, careless, reckless, willful and wanton, and failed to exercise ordinary care for the safety of its invitees.”
The suit claims that Etapa’s left leg wound resulted in multiple hospitalizations, multiple surgeries, skin grafting, physical deformity, medical expenses and lost income. His wife filed a claim for loss of her husband’s “services, society, consortium and companionship.” Each of the two plaintiffs asked separately for judgments of at least $25,000 against the company.
RAP never answered the suit, and On Feb. 17 the Etapas filed a motion for default judgment, noting that after their complaint was filed Oct. 19, the company was served with a summons and complaint on Nov. 5. Under Ohio civil rules, RAP then had 28 days to answer the complaint, which it failed to do. Therefore, the Etapas argued, they were entitled to default judgment. In this motion they also asked for $400,000 in compensatory damages.
In a judgment entry filed March 26, Hocking County Common Pleas Judge John T. Wallace ruled in favor of the Etapas, and set a hearing to determine how much they were entitled to in damages.
In a judgment entry filed Sept. 14, the judge awarded Erik Etapa $115,665.66 in economic damages (he had claimed to have run up more than $100,000 in medical bills), and another $250,000 in non-economic damages, for a total of $365,665.66.
Mikaela Etapa’s claim was dismissed because no evidence had been presented on it.
As previously reported in The Logan Daily News, business records on file with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office show that RAP, which registered as a limited liability company in April 2014, filed a certificate of dissolution effective July 1, 2020 – before the Etapas’ lawsuit was filed. The company’s status is now listed by the Secretary of State’s office as dead.
The Etapas’ attorney, John T. Scanlon, said Wednesday about the company’s dissolution that “unfortunately it means that there’s no insurance available” to cover the settlement. The next step for his client, he said, will be to seek payment from individuals who were principals of RAP while it was still in existence.
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