Archive for the ‘Trampoline’ Category

Unfortunate Landing

September 6, 2012

Duchesneau v. Cornell University (Pennsylvania Court – New York Law Applied)
(An amateur gymnast suffered a significant injury while attempting a backflip on a rebounding Tumbl Trak apparatus; he sued the manufacturer of the apparatus for a failure to warn of the dangers associated with its use, and he sought punitive damages; the court denied the manufacturer’s motion, allowing the case to proceed to the jury.)

In its motion, the defendant manufacturer alleged (1) plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of failure to warn; (2) plaintiff was not entitled to punitive damages; and (3) plaintiff assumed the risk of injury when using the apparatus.  In support of its arguments, the manufacturer referred to “general knowledge” that “an individual might land on his head if he attempt[ed] a black flip on a rebounding [apparatus].”  Defendant also referred to plaintiff’s education in basic physics, the fact that he signed a waiver that stated that he understood the risks and dangers associated with gymnastics, the existence of a small warning label on the apparatus that warned of the potential for catastrophic injury (including paralysis or even death from falling on the head or neck), and plaintiff’s knowledge of the concept of spotting from his prior participation in cheerleading.  Viewing all of that evidence, defendant asserted that “‘common sense’ would have informed an individual that he or she was risking landing on their head by using the [apparatus], and, as such, [defendant] had no legal duty to warn Plaintiff.”

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On the Rebound

July 10, 2007

Lykins v. Fun Spot Trampolines (Ohio)
(Woman Falls From Trampoline; Court Holds Risk of “Double Bounce” and Risk of More Than 225 Pound on Trampoline Not Open and Obvious, Not Assumed)

The plaintiff was invited to an annual Fourth of July party, and she was injured when she fell from a trampoline. The defendant property owners (the Thompsons) had hosted a similar party for many years and had purchased a trampoline, which they had allowed party guests to use over the years. The plaintiff used the trampoline at the annual party for five consecutive years from 1995 through 2000. On the day of the incident, she was standing on the perimeter of the trampoline while another adult guest was jumping in the middle. At some point, the plaintiff (who has consumed a limited amount of alcohol) lost her balance, fell on her back, and suffered a broken neck and a crushed spinal cord, rendering her a quadriplegic.

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the trampoline for strict products liability and against the Thompsons for negligence. Thereafter, the defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which were granted by the trial court. As to the manufacturer, the court held that the dangers presented by the subject trampoline were open and obvious and a matter of common knowledge. With regard to the Thompsons, the court also ruled that the dangers associated with trampoline use were open and obvious such that plaintiff was owed no duty. The court further found that plaintiff assumed the inherent risks associated with use of the trampoline and that the record did not support a finding of recklessness on the part of the Thompsons to impose liability upon them. The plaintiff appealed the rulings.

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A Bounce in Their Step

July 9, 2007

National Mutual Insurance v. Curtis (Indiana)
(Trampoline Accident Victim Sued Homeowners’ Insurer for Declaratory Relief; Insurer Cited Trampoline Exclusion, But court Found Exclusion to Be Ambiguous; Insurer Owed Duty)

The plaintiff was seriously injured while attending a graduation party at the home of the Curtises. During the party, he was injured while using a trampoline. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the Curtises for his injuries, and he later amended the complaint to add National Mutual Insurance Company as a defendant, seeking a declaration that the Curtises’ policy provided liability coverage for his injuries. National Mutual declined coverage, citing a trampoline exclusion found in a supplement attached to the main policy. The lower court granted the plaintiff’s summary judgment, determining that the policy provided coverage, and National Mutual appealed.

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