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Open Ice Rink Doors May Not Be “Open and Obvious”

In the case of George v. Miami Univ., 2022-Ohio-4837, a Court of Claims magistrate recommended that a university be held liable for injuries arising from a Zamboni impacting an individual who fell into an ice rink through an unlocked, open door as a reasonable person would not perceive the danger of an open door leading to an ice rink.

In this case, the injured individual argued that the university was liable for the underlying Zamboni injuries by failing to secure the door leading to the ice rink. In response, the university argued that risks arising from a Zamboni on an ice rink are “open and obvious” to any reasonable person. The magistrate agreed with the individual.

In support of the magistrate’s decision, the magistrate found that the university failed to ensure that the door remained closed while the Zamboni was being operated and that:

Quite simply, doors exist for a reason. The fact that the door has a latch (and the ability to close) suggests that it ought to be closed at certain times, such as when players are playing hockey and/or the Zamboni is operating while people are exiting the stands. Finally, the burden to remedy the condition is minimal; the door simply needs to be shut.

2022-Ohio-4837 at ¶ 39.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.


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