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Liability for Injury in Athletic Events Based on Willfulness or Recklessness
Description A Rhode Island high court held that in a case where two players collided playing baseball and one was injured, liability could be imposed on the player who caused the collision if he acted intentionally or with reckless disregard for the other player, but not if his action was merely negligent.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence; Athletic Events; Reckless Disregard
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts While playing second base during a recreational, coed softball-league game, Kiley injured her knee when a base runner, Patterson, aggressively slid into her while trying to advance to second base on a ground ball batted toward third base. Kiley sued Patterson for "negligently, recklessly or wantonly" colliding with her and causing her injury. The trial court dismissed the suit. Kiley appealed.
Decision Vacated and remanded. The duty of care owed by participants in team athletic events to each other is measured not by ordinary negligence, but by willfulness or recklessness standards. That is, there can be no recovery based upon mere negligence, the action must have been intentional or reckless. The trial court did not determine if Patterson's act was merely negligent or if he acted in reckless disregard of injuring Kiley when he slid into her. The facts of the incident must be determined before the court can determine if there may be liability or not.
Citation Kiley v. Patterson, - A.2d - (2000 WL 1658596, Sup. Ct., R.I., 2000)

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