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Blinded by the Knight? Medieval Times sued after sparks fly in Buena Park

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A newlywed couple spent a few extra dollars to sit close to the action at the Medieval Times in Buena Park last year. But when sparks flew off the swords of the mounted knights, metal lodged into the eye of the new husband and blinded him, according to a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed in Orange County.

Lawyers representing Dustin and Melissa Wiseman argue that the Texas-based entertainment restaurant did not take sufficient measures to protect its patrons from being injured. They pointed to the titanium swords used by actors who pretend to be knights. In order to produce the sparks, they say, little bits of metal have to fly off the swords.

Typically, netting is lowered to stop the shavings from striking the audience. But the netting wasn't lowered far enough according to Jason Fowler of The R. Rex Parris Law Firm who is representing Wiseman.

Mr. Wiseman's cornea in his left eye was torn and his retina was injured in multiple places in the April 12, 2011 incident. He is now blind in that eye.

“I never truly understood the importance of each eye until I lost one. Now, pouring a glass of water is difficult,” Mr. Wiseman said via his attorneys.

Medieval Times has not paid a dime of Mr. Wiseman's medical bills, or offered the couple a refund, according Fowler, who added that the company upsold the couple into the more expensive (about $80) V.I.P. seats where Mr. Wiseman was eventually blinded. 

Messages left at Medieval Times' headquarters have yet to be returned.

Fowler said that companies like Medieval Times often have to increase the action to draw more people in, but unfortunately that could lead to riskier shows.

"We'd hope a business would take accountablity for their actions," Fowler told KPCC. "Unfortunately, and frequently with some businesses, that does not always occur."

“This is a case about safety. That when we pay money to take our children to a place that we assume is safe that it actually is safe," Fowler said.

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