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Law School Case Brief

Overall v. Kadella - 138 Mich. App. 351, 361 N.W.2d 352 (1984)

Rule:

Participation in a game involves a manifestation of consent to those bodily contacts which are permitted by the rules of the game. However, there is general agreement that an intentional act causing injury, which goes beyond what is ordinarily permissible, is an assault and battery for which recovery may be had. Participation in a game involves a manifestation of consent to those bodily contacts which are permitted by the rules of the game. However, there is general agreement that an intentional act causing injury, which goes beyond what is ordinarily permissible, is an assault and battery for which recovery may be had.

Facts:

On April 17, 1975, two amateur hockey teams played each other. After the game ended, a fight broke out between defendant Steven Kadella and a member of the opposing team. The fight soon became general, with players leaving the benches to join the melee. During the fight, Kadella struck plaintiff Randal C. Overall, knocking Overall unconscious and fracturing the bones around his right eye. While there was conflicting testimony, it appeared Overall remained on the bench and was off the field of play during the fight and Overall may or may not have poked Kadella with his hockey stick while Kadalla fought on the ice. It was then that Kadala struck Overall. Overall filed suit in Michigan state court against Kadella seeking to recover damages for his injuries. After a bench trial, the trial judge entered judgment in favor of Overall for $ 21,000 for out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and permanent injury. The trial court also awarded an additional $ 25,000 as exemplary damages because Kadella's act was intentional and malicious. Kadella appealed, arguing that the trial court did not have proper venue over the case because the incident occurred within the geographic bounds of a different judicial district and that the trial court's findings were erroneous. 

Issue:

Did the trial court have venue over Overall's action?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court affirmed the trial court's judgment. The trial court had proper venue over the case after it was removed from the circuit court for failing to meet the jurisdictional amount, as permitted by statute. In addition, state statute permitted the trial court, in circumstances such as the instant case, to award damages in excess of $ 10,000. Finally, the court found that the trial court's findings of fact were not clearly erroneous. Kadella's claim that the voluntary participation defense insulated him from liability was without merit because Kadella conduct's was deliberate, wilful, or with a reckless disregard for the safety of Overall so as to cause injury to Overall.

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