ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. A young man (Plaintiff) was injured on Steeplechase Amusement Co.’s (Defendant’s) amusement park ride, “The Flopper.” Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. One who takes part in a sport accepts the dangers that are inherent in it so far as they are obvious and necessary.
One who takes part in such a sport accepts the dangers that inhere in it so far as they are obvious and necessary, just as a fencer accepts the risk of a thrust by his antagonist or a spectator at a ball game the chance of contact with the ball.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Is Defendant (an amusement park) liable for damages to Plaintiff who is hurt on a ride when it is reasonably foreseeable that some danger is involved?
Held. No. Judgment reversed. New trial granted.
* The sudden jerk experienced by Plaintiff is irrelevant because the risk of a jerk was a fall. Plaintiff knew he was subjecting himself to a jerk. A jerk was the very hazard that was invited and foreseen.
* One who takes part in a sport accepts the dangers that are obvious and necessary. In this case, Plaintiff stepped on The Flopper to be jerked and thrown. It was obvious for Plaintiff to see the possibility that he might fall down. Moreover, people expected The Flopper to jerk and try to knock them down. It was necessary aspect of the ride’s success as evidenced by its name, “The Flopper.”
* It is a different case if the dangers inherent in the sport were obscure or unobserved, or so serious as to justify the belief that precautions of some kind must have been taken to avert them. This is not the case.
* Plaintiff claims he fell on wood and that the padding was defective or inadequate. He is strongly contradicted by the photographs and witness’ testimony. The padding should have been kept in repair to break the force of any fall. However the case did not go to the jury for inadequate or defective padding. It went to the jury for the sudden jerk of the ride.
Discussion. In this case, Plaintiff assumed the risk of a sudden jerk when he stepped on the moving belt of “The Flopper.” It was fairly obvious what the ride entailed and there were no hidden surprises. Plaintiff assumed the risk of a sudden jerk. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff on a theory of negligence for an obvious and necessary sudden jerk