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Disneyland Pays Settlement to Family of Stabbing Victim

September 12, 1986

The mother and brother of a man who was stabbed to death at Disneyland in 1981 agreed to a secret settlement of their claim Thursday.

Lawyers for Disneyland had asked for a new trial after an Orange County jury on July 22 found the Anaheim park negligent in the medical treatment it provided Mel C. Yorba. Jurors fixed damages at $600,000.

Yorba's mother, Ellen Reynolds, 49, of Riverside and his brother, Mark, now 25, will share the settlement, their lawyer, John A. Luetto, said.

Lawyers refused to disclose terms of the agreement, which precludes possibility of an appeal.

The trial turned into an open debate on park policies and procedures. A park nurse who treated Yorba after he was stabbed in Tomorrowland testified she had been instructed never to call paramedics to Disneyland.

But a written park policy submitted in evidence required paramedics to be called in the event of life-threatening emergencies. Jurors said the contrast between policy and practice amounted to negligence.

Yorba was stabbed by James P. O'Driscoll of San Diego after a scuffle. O'Driscoll is now serving a 16-year-to-life sentence.

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