Claim against roller rink is dismissed
Debbie Kline suffered a head-injury at the Skatemore, Inc., Rollhaven Skating Center in Genessee County. She argued that the owners were negligent in allowing physical contact between the skaters on the very first day of a class intended to teach "roller derby" skills. The Genessee County Circuit Court granted Skatemore summary disposition under the Roller Skating Safety Act (RSSA) which grants limited immunity to roller skating centers. Kline's attorneys appealed, arguing that her claim was based on Skatemore's conduct of the "roller derby" class and not governed by the RSSA.
On appeal, the appellate court concluded that Kline's claim is subject to the RSSA, initially, because she was wearing skates when she was injured. Beyond that, the defendant's obligations must be determined by reference to the RSSA. The Court pointed out that this is not a case where Kline was injured by other persons engaging in roller derby activities, which might reflect a breach of the RSSA by the center. Instead, it involves Kline's rights while engaging in a Center-sponsored recreational activity.
Under the recent decisions by the Engler Majority of the Michigan Supreme Court, Kline is deemed to have "assumed the risks" inherent in roller derby, meaning that she can only sue for "reckless conduct" by Skateline. The appellate judges determined that she had not alleged or proved "reckless conduct," but at most merely proved ordinary negligence. On that basis it upheld the dismissal of her claims.