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Garnett v. Strike Holdings LLC - 2015 NY Slip Op 06694, 131 A.D.3d 817, 15 N.Y.S.3d 786 (App. Div.)

Rule:

In riding a go-cart, a plaintiff assumes the risks inherent in the activity. Those risks included the risk that the go-cart would bump into objects. Of course, the apparent or reasonably foreseeable risks inherent in go-karting also include the risk that vehicles racing around the track may intentionally or unintentionally collide with or bump into other go-karts. It is that inherent risk which negates any duty on the part of the defendant to safeguard the plaintiff from the risk. 

Facts:

Defendants Strike Holdings LLC operated an indoor recreation facility that contained a go-kart racing track. Plaintiff Beth Garnett rode as a passenger in a two-seat go-kart driven by her then-boyfriend, third-party defendant, Lawrence Nadler. While driving on the track, they were allegedly bumped twice by other go-karts, allegedly causing injuries to plaintiff, including "Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy." Plaintiff commenced this action against Strike alleging causes of action for negligence, negligent and defective design, strict products liability, failure to warn, and breach of warranty. Following discovery, Strike moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, which argued, inter alia, plaintiffGarnett assumed the risk of a voluntary recreational activity by participating in the go-kart race, and that she failed to show that Strike was negligent or breached any duty it owed her. The motion court denied summary judgment., and Strike appealed.

Issue:

Did the plaintiff assume the risk of a voluntary recreational activity by participating in the go-kart race?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The appellate court reversed, holidng that the trial court erred by denying a go-kart company's for summary judgment since the track operator did not have a duty to protect the go-kart rider from the inherent and foreseeable risk of being bumped by another go-kart and the go-kart rider assumed the risk of riding. Further, since the track operator did not have a duty to protect the go-kart rider from the inherent and foreseeable risk of being bumped by another go-kart, no such duty to the go-kart rider was deemed to have been created by the operator's rule prohibiting go-karts from intentionally bumping into other karts, or by its policy of stopping the race when bumping is observed.

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