Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Meistrich v. Casino Area Attractions, Inc. case brief

Meistrich v. Casino Area Attractions, Inc. case brief summary
155 A.2d 90 (1959)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant ice-skating rink operator sought review of a decision of the Superior Court, Appellate Division (New Jersey), which reversed a jury verdict in favor of defendant in an action brought by plaintiff personal injury victim for injuries suffered after falling at defendant's rink.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff personal injury victim filed an action in the trial court against defendant ice-skating rink operator for injuries suffered while at defendant's rink.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The trial court ruled in favor of defendant. On appeal, the intermediate appellate court reversed. Defendant appealed the decision of the intermediate appellate court, and the court affirmed.

DISCUSSION

  • The trial court erred in its instruction to the jury. 
  • The court noted that defendant was correct in that the issue of contributory negligence was properly left to the trier of the facts because there was sufficient proof to take such issue to the jury. 
  • Assumption of risk in its secondary sense was a mere phase of contributory negligence, the total issue being whether a reasonably prudent man in the exercise of due care would have incurred the known risk and, if he would, whether such a person in the light of all of the circumstances including the appreciated risk would have conducted himself in the manner in which plaintiff acted. 
  • Because the trial court's instructions were erroneous, the court affirmed the decision of the intermediate appellate court that reversed the trial court's decision in favor of defendant.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the decision of the intermediate appellate court that reversed a jury verdict from the trial court in favor of defendant ice-skating rink operator in plaintiff personal injury victim's action for damages resulting from a fall at defendant's rink. The court held that the trial court erred in its instruction to the jury by not differentiating between assumption of risk and contributory negligence.


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