See the link below for the recent decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court which reverses summary judgment in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.
In Archibald v. Kemble, _____ A.2d _____ (Pa. Super. 2009), Scott Cooper, Esquire, a Partner at SCHMIDT KRAMER, represented the Archibalds for serious injuries Bob Archibald sustained when he was checked during an ice hockey game. Bob Archibald wasn’t expecting the check…because it was a no-checking league. The Defendant argued the Archibalds had not made their case for the claim under Pennsylvania law.
The Court of Common Pleas agreed, and the Archibalds case was dismissed. Attorney Cooper appealed for the Archibalds. He argued to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, that the standard of care had not yet been decided in Pennsylvania for this type of premises liability claim. Further, he stressed that this type of action was part of a negligence claim, and it was only the standard of care to which the Defendant was to be held which was in question. Further, if the Defendant was only negligent if he acted recklessly, Mr. Cooper argued that the word reckless did not need to be included in the allegations to sustain the claim. It was argued the Archibalds had put facts in evidence which showed the Defendant did not act with the reasonable care a person would use, and evidence showed he even acted recklessly.
On April 23, 2009, in a published decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court order. The Superior Court found that negligence was the cause of action the Archibald’s made in their court documents, and that the standard of care they must show was that the Defendant was reckless. It was not necessary to have specifically used the word reckless in the court documents. Further, the Superior Court found evidence in the record which showed the Defendant was reckless. The Court agreed there was no appellate authority which applied a standard of care in an adult “no-check” ice hockey league. It declared that a hockey player must have engaged in reckless conduct to be subject to liability for injuries received by another player in a no-check league. When applied generally, this is the opinion shared by the majority of states.
The court analyzed the differences between acts which are reckless and intentional, quoting Restatement Second of Torts section 500, comment f. The Court provides a factors test in order to show a Defendant acted recklessly. Consider: 1. the specific game involved; 2. the ages and physical attributes of the participants; 3. their respective skills at the game and knowledge of rules and customs; 4. amateurs or professionals; 5. risks inherent to the game; 6. risks which are outside the realm of reasonable anticipation; 7. presence or absence of protective equipment; and 8. the degree of zest employed during the game Because the Superior Court found evidence which the jury could determine to be facts which show the Defendant acted recklessly, and therefore negligently, the case was sent back to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. The Pennsylvania injury law firm SCHMIDT KRAMER secured Mr. Archibald’s day in court to ask for compensation for his injury. Thanks to their lawyer, Scott Cooper for his tireless efforts for the injured in Harrisburg and the surrounding counties.
D. Joseph Chapman Attorney at Law