Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Judge Terrence R. Nealon of Lackawanna County Addresses "No-Duty Rule"

In his recent decision in the case of Barrett v. Chervanka, No. 14-CV-5175 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Dec. 8, 2016 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas denied a Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment based upon the “no-duty rule” and the alleged actions of any duty on the part of the Defendant bowling lane operator.  

According to the Opinion, a minor Plaintiff’s injury allegedly resulted from a minor Defendant’s release of her bowling ball from the runway approach alignment dots, located twelve (12) feet before the prescribed foul line and the Defendant’s failure to observe the minor Plaintiff who was positioned at the foul line as the minor Defendant was releasing his bowling ball. 

Judge Nealon noted that, under the “no-duty” rule, the operator of an amusement facilities owes no duty of care to protect its business invitees against risks that are common, frequent, expected, and inherent in the amusement activity.   Here, the court found that, although the sport of bowling involves certain apparent risks, the minor Defendant’s conduct and its associated hazards were not found to be common, frequent, and expected risk that are inherent in bowling.   Accordingly, the court found that the bowling lane operator had not established that the “no-duty” rule bars the Plaintiff’s claims.  Consequently, the court denied the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

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