Law360 (June 5, 2020, 3:57 PM EDT) -- Six Flags Great Adventure LLC has been slapped with a proposed class action in New Jersey federal court alleging the business has unlawfully refused to provide refunds to season ticket holders despite its plans to reduce access to the amusement park due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plaintiff Krystal Forbes, who said she will need to make a reservation to visit the park as a result of the crisis instead of having unlimited access, accused the company Thursday of using the pandemic "to give itself a windfall financial benefit in curtailing business operations but not offering refunds to consumers who want one."
"At a time when over 40 million Americans are unemployed, defendant's actions not only fail to deliver to consumers the full scope of their purchase, which would allow them to temporarily escape to enjoy the features of the park, but deprive them of recovering money that they may need for other uses because of the COVID-19 Pandemic," the complaint said.
The five-count complaint asserts a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, unjust enrichment, conversion, fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
Forbes attorney Amy L. B. Ginsburg of Kimmel & Silverman PC told Law360 on Friday, "She expected to get full use out of those season passes with her family and, unfortunately, she's now in a position where she can't use those season passes and get the full benefit, and she's going to have to now make a reservation to go when before she would have had unlimited access to the park with these season passes."
Forbes is seeking to represent a proposed class of New Jersey customers who bought 2020 season pass tickets to the Jackson, N.J., park before March 13 and have not received a refund. The lawsuit aims to recover such refunds for class members.
The benefits of a season pass include "unlimited visits on public operating days" and "admission to 'Fright Fest' and 'Holiday in Park' events," according to the complaint.
The park is currently closed due to the pandemic, but it is preparing to open with certain modifications, such as requiring all guests "to wear masks to enter" and "a registration system to visit the park on certain days, with a limited number of guests allowed each day," the complaint said.
"Despite the changes to its business operations, which include substantially reduced park access to season ticket holders, defendant refuses to furnish refunds to those consumers who purchased season tickets before the COVID-19 Pandemic," the complaint said.
In September, Forbes spent nearly $400 on four season tickets with a meal plan for the 2020 season, the complaint said. After not receiving updates directly from Six Flags regarding her passes, she found the virus-related restrictions on the park's website, the complaint said.
As for the requirement that guests wear face marks, Forbes noted that her daughter is "asthmatic and therefore cannot wear a face mask for long periods of time, especially in the heat."
The face mask policy also is "not a practical safety measure in an amusement park where the attractions and rides make it likely if not certain that the masks will come off or be lost entirely and where food is served and requires masks to be removed to eat," the complaint said.
"Because of these realities, plaintiff alleges that the policies defendant implemented are not reasonable and should have caused a closure of the park for the season and/or until the COVID-19 Pandemic has ended," according to the complaint.
Forbes said she sought a full cash refund for her tickets, but Six Flags told her in a reply email that "they are 'unable' to provide a refund for the 2020 season pass tickets," the complaint said.
"As a result of defendant's decisions and new policies, plaintiff and other season ticket holders have seen the benefits of their purchase materially diluted to such a degree as to make them impractical to use and of little or no practical value whatsoever," the complaint said.
Six Flags representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Forbes is represented by Amy L. B. Ginsburg of Kimmel & Silverman PC.
Counsel information for Six Flags was not immediately available.
The case is Krystal Forbes v. Six Flags Great Adventure LLC, case number 1:20-cv-06873, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
--Editing by Steven Edelstone.
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