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Kings Island customers not owed refunds for months closed due to COVID pandemic, Ohio Supreme Court rules

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Posted at 10:42 AM, Oct 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-22 11:30:30-04

MASON, Ohio — Kings Island does not have to repay 2020 passholders for the two months the park was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In the unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court said Cedar Fair L.P., which owns Cedar Point in Sandusky, Kings Island and other amusement parks, didn't breach its contract, and therefore those season pass holders aren't entitled to a refund.

The lawsuit came after Cedar Fair didn't open its parks during May and June 2020 after the state ordered a shutdown of amusement parks in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Cedar Fair then opened its amusement parks in July 2020 when that government-mandated shutdown was lifted.

Laura Valentine, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, claimed that Cedar Fair was "unjustly enriched" when it didn't open in May and June 2020. Valentine had purchased a Gold Pass for Cedar Point.

Originally Valentine's case was thrown out by the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, but was then reversed by the Sixth District Court of Appeals, who said that the terms and conditions of a Gold Pass were ambiguous.

Despite this, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Sixth District and reinstated the judgment of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas.

"We conclude that Cedar Fair's delay in opening its parks to season-pass holders does not, by itself, establish a claim for breach of contract or for unjust enrichment," wrote Justice Sharon Kennedy for the court's opinion.

The Supreme Court went onto explain that even if Cedar Fair's amusement parks regularly run from May through October, that doesn't mean that they are contractually bound to open in May 2020.

Per the terms of the Gold Pass, "all operating dates and hours are subject to change without notice. All rides and attractions are subject to closings and cancellations for weather or other conditions."

Cedar Fair also extended all 2020 season passes — and purchased add-ons — into 2021 due to the pandemic.

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