Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Missouri Supreme Court decides flying hot dog case; holds that being hit by a flying hot dog isn’t an inherent risk of watching baseball

Two years ago I started following a case filed against the Kansas City Royals seeking compensation for an injury caused by a hot dog shot out of a cannon by the team's mascot into the crowd.  The hot dog hit a spectator in the face causing an injury to his eye.  My first reports on the case are here and here (including links to comments on the claim and to the original complaint).

Eventually, the case went to trial and the jury found for the defendant. However, the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed the judgment and reinstated the case against the Kansas City Royals. The court reasoned that a plaintiff’s voluntary participation in an activity serves as consent to the known, inherent, risks of the activity itself and relieves the defendant of the duty to protect the plaintiff from those harms.

Then, back in December 2013, the Missouri Supreme Court took the case and it finally issued its decision today ruling that being hit in the eye with a flying hot dog is not an inherent risks of watching a baseball game and that, therefore, the  trial judge wrongly asked the jury to consider the defense of assumption of the risk.  For the reasons explained in my previous posts on the case, I think this is the correct decision.  You can read the opinion here.  Here are some links to more information about the case.

In one of my earlier posts on the case I copied this video of the team mascot launching hot dogs. The woman taking the video yells at the mascot for a hot dog when the mascot is throwing them by hand, but listen carefully how, after watching the laucher send a hot dog off in the air, she sounds a little nervous about the possibility of the mascot sending one her way. She says "no, no, no. "We just want you to "toss" us a hot dog," and then seems to be telling her friend that "we are too close"...


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