The New York tourist who broke his neck on a Volcano Bay water slide in 2019 has settled his lawsuit against Universal, ending the litigation that revealed other guests were getting hurt on the same ride before the theme park closed and revised it.


Court records indicate the lawsuit was resolved last month but don’t disclose the terms of the settlement. Universal declined to comment Wednesday, and the injured man’s attorney did not respond to messages seeking comment.

In September, Judge Kevin Judge Weiss ruled James Bowen was eligible for punitive damages since a jury could decide that Universal’s conduct “goes beyond ordinary negligence and quite possibly gross negligence.”

Bowen sued Universal in October 2019 after he was hurt on Punga Racers, a slide where people rode headfirst down mats, in July that year.

“It was the last day of their family vacation in Orlando as they were scheduled to return home to New York the following day. Sadly, however, their vacation ended in tragedy with Mr. Bowen admitted to the hospital, paralyzed from the neck down,” his Orange Circuit Court lawsuit said. “While riding the Punga Racers water slide, Mr. Bowen hit a wall of water as he exited the water slide into the wading pool that caused his neck to violently snap back, leaving him face down in the water and unable to move.”

Universal characterized Bowen’s injuries as “numbness” when self-reporting the incident to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which releases a public report on the most serious theme park injuries.

Source: Orlando Sentinel