Earlier this month, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an opinion in a case, holding that a little league association was not liable for a parent’s injuries sustained when she fell and broke her leg in three places after stepping in a divot in the field. In the case, Carlson v. Towne of South Kingstown, the court reasoned that the little league association was not the owner of the land and did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care to inspect the field prior to its use.
The Facts of the Case
As noted above, the plaintiff was injured when she stepped in a divot in the grass, directly adjacent to a playing field where her son’s little league game was held. After her injuries, she filed a lawsuit against several parties, including the little league association.
The plaintiff presented a witness who was familiar with the field. The witness, another parent and a former assistant coach of the team, testified that divots were a routine problem on the field. He also explained that the divot was not actually on the field itself but was off to the side of right field, on the way to the dugout.
The testimony of the town’s Director of Leisure Services was also presented. The Director explained that the town has a three-person maintenance team that looks over the field. She conceded that divots in the grass are a common problem in the field, but when she is notified of a divot, she promptly sends in the maintenance crew to fill it in.
The little league association asked the court to dismiss the case against it, arguing that the land belongs to the town and that the league had no duty to inspect and maintain the premises prior to using them. The trial court agreed and granted the defendant’s motion. The plaintiff, not satisfied with the result, appealed to the state’s supreme court.
On Appeal, the Lower Court’s Verdict is Affirmed
The appellate court agreed with the lower court that the town, not the little league association, was responsible for maintaining the field. The court explained that it was not comfortable imposing a duty on a party to inspect and maintain land that does not belong to that party. The court also noted that, while the little league association did have sole control over the field during the game, the divot at issue occurred away from the playing area, and the injury occurred after the game had concluded. As a result, the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the little league association will not be permitted to move forward. However, there may be other defendants that could still be held liable.
Have You Been Injured on the Property of Another?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of another, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland or Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuit. As you may have noticed, this case did not discuss the town’s liability to the accident victim. This is because the specific issue between the plaintiff and this defendant did not involve the town. However, accident victims should be aware that bringing a lawsuit against a town or other government entity will likely give rise to immunity concerns. If you have been injured on another’s property, regardless of the owner, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.
More Blog Posts:
Lessor of Crane Involved in Serious Accident Found Not Liable for Plaintiff’s Injuries, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2016
Affected Families Push the Supreme Court to Reconsider “Feres” Doctrine, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2016