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New Jersey Limits The Duty of Sports Operators and Owners

April 22, 2008

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The danger of being struck by an errrant baseball or hockey puck during a game is a well recognized risk of injury to spectators. A field owner customarily satisfies its limited duty of care by providing protection in the most dangerous sections of the field or stadium. What is the duty of care during warmups before a hockey game where numerous pucks are shot and the attention of the fans may not be strictly on the ice?
In <em>Sciarrotta v. Global Spectrum</em>, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the "limited duty rule" applies to warmups as well as games. Thus, an owner/operator satisifies its limited duty by furnishing proper screening and protection in the most dangerous stadium areas. The Supreme Court found no meaningful distinction between injuries that are caused by objects leaving the field of play during practice or warm-ups as opposed to an actual game.
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