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Meistrich v. Casino Arena Attractions, Inc. - 31 N.J. 44, 155 A.2d 90 (1959)

Rule:

There is no reason to charge assumption of the risk in its secondary sense as something distinct from contributory negligence, and hence where the thought is projected in that aspect, the terminology of assumption of risk should not be used.

Facts:

Plaintiff Sidney Meistrich filed a personal injury action in the trial court against defendant Casino Arena Attractions, Inc., an ice-skating rink operator for injuries suffered while at defendant's rink. The trial court ruled in favor of defendant. On appeal, the intermediate appellate court reversed and found error in the charge of assumption of the risk. It also concluded there was no evidence of contributory negligence and therefore, that issue should not have been submitted to the jury. The state supreme court granted defendant's petition for certification.

Issue:

Is the trial court’s charge with respect to assumption of risk erroneous?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court of New Jersey affirmed the decision of the intermediate appellate court, which had reversed a jury verdict from the trial court in favor of defendant ice-skating rink operator in plaintiff personal injury victim's action for damages resulting from a fall at defendant's rink. The court held that the trial court erred in its instruction to the jury by not differentiating between assumption of risk and contributory negligence.

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