“A Mississippi attorney is suing Popeyes after he says he choked when he had to eat a piece of fried chicken with his hands because a knife wasn’t included in his drive-thru order.” [AP/CBS Dallas, complaint] Update: he drops suit.
“According to cheese-rolling historians, humans may have been chasing wheels of cheese down steep slopes since pagan times. Written accounts of cheese-rolling date back nearly 200 years.” But now lawyers are catching up with the hazardous pastime. The original Gloucester cheese-rolling festival in England was officially canceled in 2010 — an unofficial version continues — and now in British Columbia, Canada, a suit claims compensation for a child spectator said to have been knocked to the ground by the impact of a rolling cheese on the other side of a safety net. [CBC]
“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]
“Never stand on the edges or close to the hot springs….Don’t test the temperature with your hands, it will burn. The nearest hospital is 62km away.” Assumption of risk, the Iceland way [TortsProf]
“Ski resorts in Colorado are protected from liability for avalanches because they are an inherent risk of skiing, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.” [ABA Journal]
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.
“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]
A California resident has “cited the estimated 1,750 fans a year who are struck by balls, mostly fouls, in a [new federal] lawsuit [against the commissioner of Major League Baseball] seeking to force major league stadiums throughout the U.S. to erect safety nets from ‘foul pole to foul pole.'” [Bloomberg]
“A New Jersey man cannot collect damages for burns he suffered while bowing his head in prayer over a sizzling steak fajita skillet at Applebee’s, a state appeals panel ruled.” [Religion News Service/Newark Star-Ledger]
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]