Thursday, January 5, 2023

Issues of Fact Preclude Entry of Summary Judgment in Case of Slip and Fall Sustained by Ice Skater

In the case of Murphy v. Pines, No. 3:20-CV-00320 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 21, 2022 Saporito, M.J.), the court denied summary judgment after finding genuine issues of material fact existed on whether the Plaintiff, an experienced skater, was entitled to a recovery when she slipped and fell while skating on ice.  The court noted that the Plaintiff had never before skated on synthetic ice.   

In his Opinion, Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr., noted that, while falling while ice skating is an inherent risk of that activity, the risks of alleged damaged surfaces are not.  The court found that the issue of assumption of the risk was for the jury to decide under the conflicting facts presented in this case.   

The court also addressed the “no duty” rule.  While the court noted that the “no duty” rule precludes liability for injuries from risk that are common, frequent, expected, and inherent in a sporting activity, and while that rule can apply when the assumption of the risk doctrine does not, the court found that issues of fact in this case prevented the entry of summary judgment in favor of the Defendant.

Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr.
M.D. Pa.

Judge Saporito additionally addressed separate arguments raised relative to the scope and impact of the release that was signed by the Plaintiff prior to engaging in the ice skating activity at the facility.  

The court noted that the release language was boilerplate and was only located on a rental receipt.  The language was not conspicuous and was never explained to the Plaintiff or even brought to the Plaintiff’s attention.   As such, given these issues, the court ruled that the issue of whether the Release was effective to preclude a recovery would be left for the jury’s consideration. 

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

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. 

Source of top image: Photo by Efrem Efre on

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.