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Dragon Oaks Asian Retirement Community Ends Go-Cart Trips After Accident And Lawsuit

 

Published May 31, 2013

Updated June 1, 2013

By DONNA MABRY

 

This Sunday, the Dragon Oaks Asian Retirement Community in Asuza will end a year long tradition meant to bring excitement to area seniors. This tradition is Sunday night at the Azusa Go-Cart Bonanza at Azusa Ave. and E. Arrow Highway. The weekly rounds at the go-cart track pleased both the young-at-heart residents of Dragon Oaks and the track’s owners.

This match made in heaven, however, will be ending on a sour note. Seven Dragon Oaks residents filed suit against Azusa Go-Cart – which in turn filed suit against Dragon Oaks – alleging negligence in allowing “elderly, frail and visually-impaired” persons to drive go-carts. According to the Complaint’s allegations, in April a female Dragon Oaks resident hit a tire barrier. After backing up her vehicle to proceed in the race, she proceeded in the wrong direction. This led to a collision at the next turn. All seven plaintiffs were hospitalized. Two required hip replacements.

“Their defense relies on the false belief that 80-year-old Asian women are not good drivers”

“All participants sign waivers, and so did these people,” said Marty Landis, attorney for Azusa Go-Cart. “Being bad drivers is no excuse,” he said.

The counsel for the plaintiffs, Barry Zipple of Zipple, Zipple & Warner, said that stereotyping Asians or the elderly as poor drivers is “racist” and “just plain wrong.” “Their defense relies on the false belief that 80-year-old Asian women are not good drivers,” he said. Zipple’s Complaint asserts that Azusa Go-Cart failed to properly mark the track so that disoriented drivers know which way to drive.

Santa Marino College professor of law Reuben L. Contraveras said that the elderly often require heightened safety precautions.  “Last year in Florida an 84-year-old woman broke a collar-bone after getting body checked playing ice hockey,” he said.  “The court found that the owner of the rink had a heightened duty to supply protective padding to an elderly customer.”

The matter is set to go to trial on February 3.