Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals, Inc.
10th Cir COA - 1979
- P was injured during an NFL game when he played against the Bengals. D's player, Clark, struck P in the back of the head with his elbow.
- P sued D for assault and battery.
- Trial court found that Clark struck P out of anger and frustration from losing but without the intent to injure him.
- Trial court concluded that even though the act was intentional, D was not liable since football is a violent game and a proper remedy is allowed by the rules of the game (penalties).
- Trial court found for D.
- 10th Cir COA reversed, remanded.
- If a P consents to participate in an event where violence is usual, does P also consent to whatever actions may be committed against him in the event?
- Just because a P consents to participate in an event where violence is usual does not mean that the P consents to whatever acts are committed against him in the event.
- Football has rules which prohibit the type of actions exhibited by the D.
- The rules are there so that one player cannot intentionally inflict serious injury to another.
- The P is entitled to an assessment of his rights and whether his rights have been violated.
- The trial court should look at the usual practices and customs of the game in determining this.
- P must prove that the D acted intentionally or willfully.