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Court stretches to dismiss negligence case against Lapeer roller rink

Jennifer Franzel was injured when another roller skater left a crowd of patrons and entered the rink immediately in front of her.  She claimed that the Lapeer Skating Center should have some liability for her injury because it failed to exercise proper control of the rink entrance with identifiable guards.  It was Franzel's argument that the Roller Skating Center Safety Standards had been violated by the rink's lack of control and therefore, the rink lost its legislative immunity. (The Michigan Legislature, succumbing to special interest lobbying, adopted an act that granted immunity to roller skating rinks on the theory that participants had "assumed the risk" of injuries inherent in the sport.)

The Court of Appeals held that since the rink had floor guards on duty, in identifiable uniforms, it didn't matter whether they controlled behavior at the rink entrance--the rink was given immunity regardless.  It alluded to the fact that Franzel's injuries were caused by an anticipated collision with another skater--which it deemed one of the inherent risks of roller skating.  It avoided the issue of whether that collision should have been prevented with proper control of the facility in accordance with established standards.

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