July 14, 2011
Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC
Three appellate courts have ruled in the last two months that participants in golf, soccer and football have assumed the risk of their involvement in New York and Indiana. On January 26, 2010, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division of New York issued a decision in Brown v. City of New York, __N.Y.S.2d__, 69 A.D.3d 893 (2010), concluding that a football player injured at a public field owned by the city had assumed the risk. The facts of the case were as follows: while playing touch football, Plaintiff dove for the football at the sideline of the public field. His knee struck a cement strip, which was approximately five feet outside of the sideline and ran alongside the field. The evidence established that the player had played there before and that he was aware of the cement strip, which was open and obvious. The defendant was able to establish that the Plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by voluntarily participating in the football game, even though he knew that by doing so, he could come into contact with the cement strip located in the out-of-bounds area of the field.