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Thursday, April 24, 2008
Another victim of sports mascot violence

In a previous post, I discussed the interesting role of sports mascots in spectator injury cases. Assumption of risk usually bars spectators injured by batted balls at baseball games from suing the team or arena. However, there is a split on whether a spectator distracted by a mascot should be able to get around this ordinary bar.

The Tort Law Professor blog picks up the following interesting variant from the Chicago Tribune via Yahoo Sports:
A Naperville dentist called a flagrant foul on Chicago Bulls' mascot Benny the Bull on Monday, suing the team over a high-five gone awry. [The plaintiff] alleged he was sitting near courtside on Feb. 12 when he raised his arm to get a high-five from . . . the exuberant mascot in a bright red fuzzy costume. But [the plaintiff], an oral surgeon, may now wish he had settled for a fist-bump instead.

Instead of merely slapping [plaintiff's] palm, [Benny] grabbed his arm as he fell forward, hyperextending [plaintiff]'s arm and rupturing his biceps muscle . . . . "Benny's flying down the aisle, giving everybody high-fives," [plaintiff's] attorney, Shawn Kasserman, said . . . . "When he gets to [my client], he either inadvertently trips or, as part of the shtick, trips. . . . He grabbed [my client]'s arm and fell forward."

[The plaintiff] could miss as much as four months of work . . . The lawsuit claims [Benny the Bully] was negligent in either "falling forward while grabbing a fan's hand" or "running out of control" through the crowd.
Does one assume a certain risk of injury when willingly seeking to "high-five" a large fuzzy bull?


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