“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]
A man who performed under the name “Skull Von Krush” is now a plaintiff in a suit seeking class-action status that claims pro wrestling hid the dangers of concussion [Associated Press/Asbury Park Press]
Reality-TV attempt to break world record for “Fastest Time to Jump Through 10 Panes of Tempered Glass” does not end well, money sought [Mike Heuer, Courthouse News]
Wurst-case scenario comes true: “The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled on behalf of a baseball fan who says he was hit in the eye with a hot dog thrown by Sluggerrr, the Kansas City Royals mascot.” The court overruled a trial judge who had instructed jurors that they could find the flying foodstuff to be an assumed risk of attending a Royals game. [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal; earlier]
“Tom Goldstein’s letter for rich client who threw porn star off roof for video” [@RandyEBarnett] is an “instant classic” [@adamliptak]. Goldstein is a prominent member of the Supreme Court bar and co-founder of SCOTUSBlog. [Josh Blackman] Concluding passage of letter:
If she sues, the complaint will be sanctionably frivolous. Your client should just box up almost every last bit of her property (please exclude all videos and photographs, as well as the seemingly inevitable small yappy dog) and drop it off with you in safe-keeping for Mr. Bilzerian. After he receives the judgment in his favor, he will have it all delivered to him. Then he will probably blow it up with a mortar in the desert.
I enjoyed our brief correspondence.
Says the man who sued because he tried to climb a boulder in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park and fell off. Good news, Mr. Stock: you not only get to explore the world, you also get to explore the legal concept known as “assumption of the risk.” [Gothamist]
- Sock puppets: U.K. and E.U. governments both fund public advocacy campaigns on paternalism themes, effectively lobbying themselves at taxpayer expense. Sounds kinda familiar [Christopher Snowdon on Institute for Economic Affairs studies]
- Federal government, in the form of the CDC, wishes your doctor would nag you more about your drinking [Jacob Sullum, more]
- “$10m look into games and gun violence a bust” [Rob Beschizza; Mike Rose, Gamasutra; related, Scott Shackford]
- Assumption of risk won a round at the California Supreme Court a year ago in a case on amusement park bumper cars [S.F. Chronicle, ABA Journal, related on Disneyland teacups] J.D. Tuccille on motorcycle risks [Reason]
- As a country Australia is known for freedom, so why’s it a leader in enacting bans? [Vivienne Crompton, IPA “Freedom Watch”]
- “Maine’s unwise and unconstitutional ban on disclosing the alcohol content of beers” [Jonathan Adler]
- FDA mandate on removal of nicotine could benefit head regulator’s former client [Jacob Grier] Glaxo SmithKline, Johnson & Johnson also push bans on e-cigarettes, which compete with their nicotine therapies [Tim Carney] AGs from 24 states (AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, ME, MD, MS, MT, NH, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA) write FDA urging ban on menthol in cigarettes [CSPNet] “Cigarette Sin-Tax Hike Could Boost Black Markets” [Steven Greenhut] Brendan O’Neill on secondhand smoke [Reason]
- Florida attorney John Morgan, suing NASCAR over crowd injuries, says waiver on back of ticket isn’t valid [Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel, scroll to “Open Mike”; John Culhane, Slate] Idaho court denies assumption-of-risk “Baseball Rule” in foul-ball case [CBS]
- “Pennsylvania vs. NCAA: case dismissed” [antitrust; Rob Green, Abnormal Use]
- 1911 article: aviation “as safe as football”: 47 aviation vs. 60 football fatalities in 1909. [Kyle Graham, @tedfrank] “Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?” [WaPo] “Retired Jocks Dig for Gold in the California Hills” [Jon Coppelman on state’s generous worker’s comp arrangements, earlier]
- “The Derrick Rose lawsuit and emotional distress claims in South Carolina” [Frances Zacher, Abnormal Use]
- “Parents of autistic New Jersey teen sue so he can play on” [Brick, N.J. football team; WPVI]
- NY Yankees successfully challenge company’s effort to trademark “Baseball’s Evil Empire” [Ilya Somin, Michael Schearer]
- “Memo to Roger Goodell: I’ll take my NFL football without Obamacare propaganda, please” [Bainbridge]
I’ve now done a second post in Common Good’s symposium on education and fear of liability. Among the topics I discuss: assumption of risk, statutes of limitations, sovereign immunity, and the need for some more organized way of advocating the interests of public service entities against excessive or impractical liability demands. You can read it here.