A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Concert Provider Found Not Liable For Patron’s Injury Caused By Slipping On Muddy Ground At Concert

By on April 22, 2022 in Liability with 0 Comments

Plaintiff Danielle Donahue attended a Live Nation Concert at the PNC Banks Art Center (“PNC Center”), a public entertainment venue in Monmouth County. PNC Center is a partially covered, open-air amphitheater, which included lawn seating. In Donahue v. NJTPA and Live Nation Worldwide, Inc., 2022 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 559 (App. Div. Apr. 7, 2022), the issue was whether Live Nation could be held liable for Plaintiff’s injury resulting from her slip on the muddy lawn.

Plaintiff had purchased lawn seating tickets, knew rain was forecast for the evening, and that lawn seats were exposed to the elements. It began to rain about 5 minutes after she sat down. Plaintiff noticed that the ground was wet and muddy in spots.

About 15 minutes after the rain started, Plaintiff walked across the wet, sloped, muddy lawn toward the concession stand.  She slipped and fell, injuring herself as her left foot slid out from under her in the mud. She admitted in discovery that she knew that “muddy ground could be slippery and that she required no warning of that fact.”

Plaintiff sued Live Nation, claiming that it breached its duty of reasonable care to her by not remediating a dangerous condition at the PNC Center. Live Nation filed for a summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence produced that Live Nation had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition at the PNC Center.

The trial court judge granted the motion, finding “that no reasonable jury could conclude that the muddy lawn was a dangerous condition.” It found that the muddy and slippery conditions were natural occurrences of a lawn that is exposed to a rainstorm. Further, the trial court found that there was no action Live Nation could have taken to cure a muddy lawn while it is raining.

Plaintiff appealed this decision to the Appellate Division. However, the Court agreed with the trial court judge that “the lawn seating near the PNC Center was not a dangerous condition” at the time of Plaintiff’s fall. The Appellate Division pointed out that “[t]here was nothing Live Nation could have done to ameliorate the condition of the lawn once it began to rain.” Further, the Court noted Plaintiff admitted that it was common sense that the lawn might be slippery during a rainstorm. Hence, Live Nation breached no duty to Plaintiff by not warning her of a danger about which she was already aware.

Further, the Appellate Division found no support in the record for Plaintiff’s contention that Live Nation breached a duty to her by allowing portions of the lawn to be worn down to dirt that turned to mud when it rained. The Court pointed out that Plaintiff chose to purchase tickets to an outdoor seating area during an evening rainstorm. She had been there before in the lawn seating.

Hence, the Appellate Division rejected the Plaintiff’s arguments on appeal and affirmed the dismissal of the lawsuit.

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About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

For the years 2020 and 2021, Ms. Ramos was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Litigation - Insurance. The attorneys on this list are selected based upon the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. A complete description of The Best Lawyers in America© methodology can be viewed via their website at: https://www.bestlawyers.com/methodology.

In 2021, Capehart Scatchard and Ms. Ramos received the “Best Law Firm” ranking in the area of Litigation – Insurance (Metro, Tier 3) published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. Law firms included on the list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have at least one attorney who has been included in the current edition of Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Betsy Ramos (Litigation – Insurance) was recognized for this prestigious award in the 2021 edition. For a description of the “Best Law Firm” selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

“Best Law Firms” is published by Best Lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report. For a description of the selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

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