Thursday, October 17, 2019

Verdict in Favor of Dallas Cowboys Fan Injured At Eagles Game Reversed

In the case of Pearson v. Philadelphia Eagles, LLC, 3053 EDA 2018 (Pa. Super. Oct. 11, 2019 Murray, J., Pelligrini, J., and Strassburger, J.) (Op. by Murray, J.) (Strassburger, J. concurring), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff and remanded for the entry of a judgment n.o.v. in favor of the defense in a premises liability case involving a fight at a Philadelphia Eagles verses Dallas Cowboys game. 

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff wore a Troy Aikman No. 8 jersey to a Cowboys versus Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field game and was injured when he got into a scuffle in the men's room at halftime of a night time game.

Believe it or not, a Philadelphia County jury entered a substantial verdict in favor of the Plaintiff.  This appeal followed and as noted, the appellate court reversed.

The court noted that, absent a pre-existing duty, the general rule of law in Pennsylvania precludes holding a person liable for the criminal conduct of another. Rather, such a duty may arise from a voluntary undertaking to provide security. However, even providing secure is not deemed under Pennsylvania law to be a guarantee against all third-party criminal activity. 

The court noted that the undisputed evidence in this matter was that restroom fights were infrequent. As such, the court stated that, absent notice of frequent prior incidents on the premises, there was no duty on the landowner to post a guard at every restroom in the sports stadium.

The court additionally rejected any arguments by the Plaintiff that the scope of the Defendant’s undertaking of providing security measures should have been broader than it was.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of the Majority Opinion of this decision may click this LINK.  The Concurring Opinion of Judge Strassburger can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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