Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Knight v. Jewett case brief

Knight v. Jewett case brief summary
834 P.2d 696 (1992)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff sought review of the decision of the Court of Appeal (California), which affirmed a grant of summary judgment for defendant, dismissing plaintiff's personal injury action for negligence during a sports activity.

CASE FACTS
Defendant broke plaintiff's finger in a touch football game. Plaintiff sued for negligence.

DISCUSSION

  • The court decided the proper application of the assumption of risk doctrine to comparative fault principles. 
  •  A sports participant was liable to a coparticipant only for reckless conduct outside the range of that sport's ordinary activity.
  • Plaintiff's claims were dismissed.
RULES
In cases involving primary assumption of risk, where defendant owed no duty to protect plaintiff from the particular risk of harm that caused the injury, the comparative fault doctrine barred plaintiff's recovery in tort. In cases involving secondary assumption of risk, where defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care but plaintiff encountered a known risk imposed by defendant's breach of that duty, the assumption of risk doctrine merged into the comparative fault scheme.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed dismissal of plaintiff's tort claim for negligence, holding that it was barred by the primary assumption of risk doctrine for ordinary, careless conduct during a sports activity.


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