Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co.

250 N.Y. 479, 166 N.E. 173 (1929)



Where risk of injury is foreseeable, a person assumes the risk injury when they participate.


Plaintiff was a visitor at defendant’s amusement park and was injured when he participated in a park attraction. Plaintiff fell off of the moving belt and fractured his kneecap. He stated in his complaint that the belt was dangerous to life and limb in that it stopped and started violently and suddenly and that it was not properly equipped to prevent injuries to persons who were using it without knowledge of its dangers. Plaintiff further added that it was operated at a fast and dangerous rate of speed and was not supplied with a proper railing, guard, or other device to prevent a fall. Judgment was initially rendered in favor of plaintiff but the appellate court reversed.


Was the possibility of a fall or injury a foreseeable risk to plaintiff?




The risk of falling from the belt was foreseeable and that plaintiff assumed that risk when he took part in defendant's attraction. The court compared the risk to sports when they stated, "one who takes part in a sport accepts the dangers that inhere in it so far as they are obvious and necessary. A different case would be here if the dangers inherent in the sport were obscure or unobserved, or so serious as to justify the belief that precautions of some kind must have been taken to avert them."

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