Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
"No-duty" rules apply only to risks which are common, frequent, and expected, and in no way affect the duty of theaters, amusement parks, and sports facilities to protect patrons from foreseeably dangerous conditions not inherent in the amusement activity.
Appellant Evelyn M. Jones was injured at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh on July 16, 1970, the sport facility's inaugural day. Jones was standing in the second walkway in the vicinity of one of the large right field openings when she was struck in the eye by a ball hit during batting practice. Jones brought an action of trespass in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County against appellee Pittsburgh Athletic Company, Inc., holder of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball franchise, and appellee Three Rivers Management Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pittsburgh Athletic Company, Inc., which manages Three Rivers Stadium. Jones’ evidence established that the stadium's structure requires pedestrians interested in looking out onto the playing field to stop or to divert their attention away from the path of the concourse. In response to Jones’ case, appellees presented no evidence. Instead, they moved for both nonsuits and directed verdicts. The trial court denied the motions and submitted the case to the jury. The jury found appellees negligent and awarded Jones damages of $ 125,000. The Superior Court held that Jones failed to establish a prima facie case and reversed and remanded for entry of judgment notwithstanding the verdict as to both appellees.
Was the “no-duty” rule applicable in this case?
The court found that even in a place of amusement, not every risk was reasonably expected. The application of the assumption of the risk defense was limited to those injuries incurred as a result of risks any spectator must and would have been held to anticipate. The court also found that the "no-duty" rule was improperly applied. The court noted that Pennsylvania recognized an exception to the general rule that a lessor not in possession was not liable in trespass to invitees of his lessee. Thus, liability could have been imposed on each appellee. The judgment of the superior court was reversed, and judgment for Jones was reinstated.