Posts Tagged ‘assumption of risk’

Bears in Yellowstone: eat, sue, warn

“The decision was reversed on appeal, but it spooked the Park Service into trying to lawyer-proof Yellowstone. Walker’s folks insisted that there was no way their son could have known about the danger of bears, or hiking off trails, or pitching camp in the middle of nowhere, or leaving food and trash next to his tent. So officials in Yellowstone set out to make sure that you’d have to be dumb as a rock not to understand the risks of the park. And they got the job done.” [Jonathan Last, Weekly Standard]

“Throwed rolls” result in Missouri suit

Lambert’s Cafe, based in Sikeston, Missouri, bills itself as the “Home of Throwed Rolls” because of its famous practice of having servers toss dinner rolls to customers. It’s now being sued for guess what [WDAF, RiverFront Times] Last year the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of a plaintiff claiming injury from a hot dog thrown by a mascot at a Kansas City Royals game, overturning a lower court which had instructed jurors that they were free to find hot-dog-flinging a risk known to occur at Royals games for purposes of an assumption of risk defense. More: Lowering the Bar and (thanks for link) Fox News.

Suit: concert hall should have known visitor would slide down banister

“Defendants improperly used a ‘sticky substance’ such as double-sided tacky tape to increase friction on the banister and deter concertgoers from sliding down it,” according to the complaint against the owners of Buffalo’s Tralf Music Hall. “Unfortunately, this ‘sticky substance’ caused decedent Dr. Verma to lose his center of gravity and caused him to drop in between the staircase and the wall.” The lawsuit also says the theater’s owners knew that alcohol was served on the premises. The deceased was a 28-year-old medical doctor reportedly serving as a first-year resident. [Courthouse News, WIVB]

“In a perfect world, of course, all risks could be avoided…”

While in a perfect world all risks could be avoided, in the actual world we live in, life comes with risks that may be unavoidable, obvious, or both, Ontario’s highest court has unanimously ruled. It declined to assign liability to the town of Cayuga over a 2001 incident in which a teenager climbed a popular climbing tree in a public park, fell off, and was rendered a paraplegic. He sued, saying the town should have taken measures such as prohibiting climbing or warning of danger.

“Trees, being by their very nature things which can be climbed and therefore fallen from, are potentially harmful,” the court said. “Any danger posed by this tree was an obvious one. If you chose to climb it, you could fall and be injured.”

A lower court judge dismissing the suit in 2013 declined to create a municipal duty to prevent injuries by developing and enforcing a ban on tree climbing in the park. “There has to be a reasonable limit to such prohibitions on human activity,” he said. [Toronto Star; note the pioneering 2003 English case Tomlinson v. Congleton Borough Council discussed here and here]