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Law School Case Brief

Marchetti v. Kalish - 53 Ohio St. 3d 95, 559 N.E.2d 699 (1990)

Rule:

The Supreme Court of Ohio joins the weight of authority in other jurisdictions and requires that before a party may proceed with a cause of action involving injury resulting from a recreational or sports activity, reckless or intentional conduct must exist. Where individuals engage in recreational or sports activities, they assume the ordinary risks of the activity and cannot recover for any injury unless it can be shown that the other participant's actions were either "reckless" or "intentional."

Facts:

Appellee injured party filed an action against appellant alleged tortfeasor to recover damages for injuries sustained after the latter collided with her during a neighborhood game of "kick-the-can."  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the appellant on the grounds that the injured party could recover only for an intentional tort and that she assumed the risk.  On appeal, the ruling was reversed. The appellant appealed.

Issue:

Can a participant or player recover damages for injury resulting from a recreational or sports activity?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and reinstated the trial court's judgment. The court held that the injured party was not entitled to recover damages from the alleged tortfeasor because she had conceded that the alleged tortfeasor did not act either recklessly or intentionally. Reckless or intentional conduct was required for a party to proceed with a cause of action involving injury resulting from recreational or sports activities, regardless of whether the participants were children or adults. Where individuals engaged in such activities, they assumed the ordinary risks of those activities. The injured party was deemed to have assumed the risk by voluntarily participating in the game.

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