No Liability in Hockey Puck Injury Case

In a 4-3 decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed last week the dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit filed by a minor league hockey spectator who was struck by a puck during warm-ups. The New Jersey high court ruled that the arena had complied with its obligation to protect spectators to the extent reasonable. The three dissenting justices contended that the arena should have posted warnings about the potential hazard of hockey pucks leaving the arena.

I think I agree with the outcome because I think there should be some strict liability in these situations. But, taking off my personal injury lawyer and putting my citizen hat on, I agree with the majority opinion based on New Jersey law as it is presently constituted. Any reasonable person who attends a hockey game knows or should know that pucks might come flying off the ice. Providing a warning would be superfluous.

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