Court of Appeals Holds Youth Sports League Not Liable for Parents Fighting in Stands

The Court of Appeals decided Pink v Rome Youth Hockey Assn., Inc. (No. 158) today, an action where a parent who was hit in the head while trying to break up a fight between spectators in the stands at a youth hockey game sued the Association putting on the game for failure to protect the parent from the criminal assault. Applying traditional tort principles, where a duty of care exists only to protect someone from reasonably foreseeable criminal activity, the Court of Appeals held that the youth hockey league was entitled to summary judgment dismissing the personal injury action as against it. The Court held that, although it was clear that the spectators became unruly during and after the game, that in and of itself was insufficient to make the criminal assault foreseeable enough to give rise to a duty of care to protect the spectator. As the Court held, “[t]he behavior of the fans, however inappropriate, certainly did not create the risk that failure to eject any specific spectator would result in a criminal assault, particularly since such an assault had never happened before.”

The Court’s decision can be found here.

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