Trial Court Grants Summary Judgment in Case of First Impression

On December 6, 2007, Judge Clark of Dauphin County, PA, granted a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Harrisburg partner, Stephen Banko, in what appears to be a case of first impression in Pennsylvania. On June 2, 2003, Plaintiff and Defendant were participants in an adult non-check ice hockey league. Plaintiff contended that he was “slew footed” (tripped) by Defendant to keep Plaintiff from controlling a loose puck. Plaintiff fell and slid into the boards, suffering a severe leg fracture. When Plaintiff filed his Complaint, he alleged negligence, only. There were no allegations of “reckless” or “intentional conduct”. Although there are no Pennsylvania cases on the issue,  Defendant’s Motion was based upon the majority view that for a participant in a competitive sporting event to recover against a fellow competitor for injuries sustained, mere negligence would not suffice.  Rather, Plaintiff would have to prove a higher degree of recklessness or intentional conduct. Additionally, Defendant pointed out that Plaintiff could not amend his Complaint to include such allegations as the two year statute of limitations had long expired. Judge Clark agreed and entered Summary Judgment in favor of the Defendant, ordering Plaintiff’s Complaint stricken with prejudice. (Archibald v. Kemble, Dauphin Co. Docket No. 2005 CV 2079).