Shaved Ice

by

Rossman v. RCPI Landmark Properties (New York)
(Ice Skater Fell When She Hit a Bump in the Ice; Court Ruled She Assumed the Risk Posed by the Condition of the Ice)

An ice skater brought a lawsuit against an ice rink owner for injuries that she sustained when she fell after skating into a bump on the ice. The defendant rink filed a motion for summary judgment based upon primary assumption of the risk. The trial court granted the motion, and the skater appealed.

The skater testified that when she first started skating at the rink on the day in question, the surface of the ice was “smooth.” However, after skating for about an hour and a half, she claimed that, she observed that the skating surface was deteriorating, and there were ice chips, bumps, and wet spots on the ice. Nonetheless, she continued to skate until her fall about 15 minutes later. The court held that under those circumstances, the plaintiff had assumed the complained-of risks posed by the condition of the ice. Therefore, the court affirmed judgment in favor of the rink.

NOTE: So long as a party is able to describe and understand the risks of an activity, the New York courts will find that those risks are assumed by the participant. Even if the underlying conditions are seemingly abnormal, if the participant was aware of those specific conditions and voluntarily encountered them, the doctrine should still apply.

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