Negligence Claim Against Wrestling Promotion Thrown Out
Crystal Jones, a Columbus, Indiana resident, attended a wrestling event on June 7, 2014, at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds as part of the Bartholomew County 4-H fair. The event was sponsored by Jerry Wilson and his company, Hoosier Pro Wrestling, which contracted with the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Inc. to rent the Family Arts building for the show. Jones left the building around 11 p.m., before the show was over, to retrieve medicine from her car. On her way back to the car, Jones was attacked by an unknown assailant and sustained injuries. She filed a complaint against Wilson and Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Inc., alleging negligence due to a lack of security personnel and lighting.
Jones also alleged that Wilson “‘as the host and promoter of the event had a duty to Plaintiff, with respect to the maintenance and repair of facility and its condition with regard to the safety of attendees such as Plaintiff.” Wilson breached that duty through the lack of lighting and security, and the presence of alcohol, Jones said.
Wilson moved for summary judgment, arguing he had no duty to Jones while she was in the parking lot to protect her from the unforeseeable acts of a third party. He also argued his agreement with the fair did not obligate him to provide security or lighting.
The Bartholomew Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of Wilson, and the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday. The Court of Appeals reached its decision by analyzing whether or not the attack on Jones was foreseeable. “Under that test – examining (1) the broad type of plaintiff and (2) the broad type of harm, without consideration of the actual facts, – we find that the harm inflicted on Jones was not normally to be expected, and thus not foreseeable, and Wilson did not owe a duty to Jones," the Court stated.
You can read the entire opinion of the Indiana Court of Appeals here.