Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Racing’ Category

Blanked Out – Injured Motocross Rider’s Claims Barred By Assumption of Risk (CA)

July 6, 2015

Storer v. E Street MX, Inc. (California)
(not a published opinion)

The plaintiff was injured while riding his motorcycle on a motocross track operated by the defendants.  After completing two or three laps on the track, the plaintiff “blanked out” and did not recall the incident.  He claimed something hit him, but he did not know what it was.  He filed an action against the defendants for negligence and premises liability.  The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment based upon both primary assumption of risk and the waiver and release document that the plaintiff signed prior to his participation in the motocross activities, and plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint shortly thereafter.

Plaintiff sough to add a new cause of for products liability and also sought to add additional negligence claims relating to defective design, construction, and maintenance of the racetrack, along with a failure to warn him of those defects.   The trial court denied plaintiff’s motion, ruling that the proposed amendment was “prejudicially late” and that it sought to add a “patently frivolous” cause of action for products liability.  Plaintiff had also requested delaying the defendants motion, but the court denied the request.  Thereafter, the trial court granted the defendants’ motion, and the plaintiff appealed. (more…)

Pipe Dream for Expert in Motocross Case

May 12, 2011

McCassy v. Superior Court (California – UNPUBLISHED)
(Minor motocross rider injured during practice ride; with the rider unable to recall the incident, her expert speculates that irrigation piping near the track caused her to lose control; the court finds a lack of evidence to support the theory and grants defendant’s motion for summary judgment.)

A 17-year-old female motocross rider was at a motocross track practicing, and she was involved in an incident occurred in which she left the track and struck an embankment. The rider did not remember how the incident occurred, but alleged that she struck a portion of PVC pipe about 10 feet from the racing surface which was part of the track’s irrigation system, causing her to lose control of the motorcycle. She alleged premises liability, and her father and brother, both of whom were present, sued for infliction of emotional distress.

An expert for the plaintiffs asserted that the track increased the normal risk of injury by placing the PVC pipe close to the track and that if a rider lost control and left the track, there was a high probability of striking it. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment based upon primary assumption of the risk, noting that placement of the irrigation system so close to the track was not inherently required for the sport. The defendant petitioned for review, and the Court of Appeal granted the Petition.

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Minor Dies During Motorcycle Race at IMS

August 31, 2010

United States Grand Prix Racers Union (Indiana)
(13-year-old young died when he was run over by a 12-year-old co-participant.)

As recently reported in the USA Today, a minor amateur motorcycle rider died this past weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race was a private event sanctioned by the U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union (“USGPRU”).  A spokesman for the USGPRU said that it will discuss ways to make the sport safer. According to the USGPRU’s website, a memorial fund has been established in honor of the deceased minor.

NOTE: The minor release form used by the USGPRU as posted on its website is attached. Is it very short and basic. While the incident occurred in Indiana, the sanctioning body appears to be from Virginia, and the deceased minor was Washington. Indiana has a statute which allows a minor to become partially emancipated for the purposes of filling out the necessary contracts and waiver and release forms in order to participate in motorsports activities. We did not see any information to indicate whether or not the statute was employed for participants in this event.

Parens Patriae (“Father of the People”)

September 18, 2007

Fields v. Kirton (Florida)
(ATV Fatality; Court of Appeal Makes a Statement Against Parents’/Guardians’ Rights to Waive/Release Negligence Liability on Behalf of Minor Participants in Recreation Activities; Conflict Created in the Law)

A fourteen (14) year old boy died in an all terrain vehicle (“ATV”) accident. His father had taken the boy to the defendant motorsports park without the knowledge of the boy’s mother. In order to gain entry into the park, the father signed a release and waiver of liability, assumption of risk, and indemnity agreement on behalf of his son, which (by its terms) protected the park from negligence-based liability. Thereafter, the boy attempted to complete a jump, but was ejected from the ATV. The ATV landed on top of him. He tried to get up, but collapsed and died. The boy had unsuccessfully attempted the same jump one month earlier, resulting in a fractured rib and mild concussion.

The boy’s parents filed a lawsuit against the park and its owners/operators, alleging negligence in the operation of the facility. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment based upon the release agreement signed by the boy’s father. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion and the plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision.

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