Sports Law Blog
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Monday, March 08, 2004

More on Rushing the Court: Thank you to all of the readers that have responded to yesterday's post -- Legal Implications of Rushing the Court. I have done some additional research on tort law in this area. It appears settled that spectators at sporting events assume the risk of injuries that are related to the sport (i.e., foul ball at a baseball game, stray golf ball or hockey puck). However, as at least one California court has held, the owner of a sports facility has a duty to use due care to remove risks that are not inherent in the sport. Morgan v. Fuji Country USA, 40 Cal.Rptr.2d 249 (1995). Since rushing the court is definitively not part of the sport, it seems that arena management would be liable if a spectator was injured by a crowd rushing the court.

Reader Lewis Shaw also pointed out these two relevant cases. A Massachusetts court has also held that the owner of a sporting venue can be held liable for "gross negligence." Zavras v. Capeway, 687 N.E.2d 1263 (1997). In the university context, the West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that if "a state university provides recreational activities to its students, it fulfills its educational mission and performs a public service, and thus owes duty of due care to its students when it encourages them to participate in the sport." Kyriazis v. University of West Virginia, 450 S.E.2d 649 (1994).


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