Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - December 31, 2015

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Griffin v. The Haunted Hotel, Inc. (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 490.  This is a somewhat interesting factual situation involving the assumption of risk doctrine.  A company operated a haunted house type of entertainment attraction two months a year and actors were hired within the attraction to scare the people who bought tickets to go through it.  A person buying a ticket was provided with materials that indicated that the haunted house contained actors in ghoulish costumes whose intent was to frighten, startle and sometimes chase the patrons amid loud noises and flashing strobe lights.

The plaintiff in this case purchased the ticket, went through with his friends and thinking that they had exited the exhibit, did so only to run into an actor running a gas-powered chain saw (with the chain removed).  Plaintiff was startled, began to run, the actor holding the chain saw gave chase, and Plaintiff was injured when he fell while running away.

The court of appeal held that the assumption of risk doctrine applied and that Plaintiff did not have a claim.  Being frightened, running and potentially falling was inherent in the fundamental nature of the haunted house attraction, and Plaintiff had agreed to assume that risk.

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