Haymon v. Pettit, 151.

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtJones
Citation9 N.Y.3d 324,880 N.E.2d 416
PartiesJoan HAYMON, Individually and as Mother and Natural Guardian of L.H., an Infant, Appellant, v. Donald J. PETTIT et al., Defendants, and Auburn Community Non-Profit Baseball Association, Inc., Respondent.
Docket Number151.
Decision Date20 November 2007
880 N.E.2d 416
9 N.Y.3d 324
Joan HAYMON, Individually and as Mother and Natural Guardian of L.H., an Infant, Appellant,
v.
Donald J. PETTIT et al., Defendants, and
Auburn Community Non-Profit Baseball Association, Inc., Respondent.
151.
Court of Appeals of New York.
November 20, 2007.

Damon & Morey LLP, Buffalo (Michael J. Willett and Steven M. Zweig of counsel), for appellant.

Roemer Wallens & Mineaux, LLP, Albany (Matthew J. Kelly and Amanda Davis Twinam of counsel), for respondent.

[9 N.Y.3d 326]

OPINION OF THE COURT

JONES, J.


In this appeal we are asked to decide whether a baseball park operator owes a duty to warn or protect nonpatron spectators who are injured while chasing foul balls that are hit out of the stadium. Under the circumstances presented, we conclude that no duty exists.

Plaintiff's then 14-year-old son, L.H., was injured when he was struck by an automobile driven by defendant, Donald Pettit. Specifically, L.H. chased a foul ball into traffic. The record indicates that he

880 N.E.2d 417

was wearing headphones while chasing the ball and failed to look both ways before crossing the street. L.H. apparently neither saw nor heard the oncoming vehicle. Pettit was operating his vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .11%. At the time, L.H. had congregated with friends outside of Falcon Park, a baseball stadium owned by the City of Auburn and operated by defendant Auburn Community Non-Profit Baseball Association, Inc. (Ball Club). Adjoining the stadium on the third base side is a two-way public street across from which is a parking

9 N.Y.3d 327

lot owned by the City of Auburn and utilized by fans during games. At the time of the incident, the Ball Club offered free baseball tickets to nonpatrons outside of the park who retrieved foul, balls and returned them to the ticket window. Further, the record indicates that L.H. visited the stadium regularly to, retrieve and collect foul balls hit out of the stadium.*

L.H.'s, mother commenced this negligence action individually and on L.H.'s behalf against defendants Ball Club, Donald Pettit and the City of Auburn, Among others. The Ball Club moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that it owed no duty to plaintiff's son. Supreme. Court denied the motion, finding that the Ball Club owed a duty to its fans outside the stadium "to prevent them from chasing foul balls into the nearby public street, a foreseeably dangerous condition it took part in creating." The Appellate Division reversed and dismissed the complaint as to the Ball Club. The court determined that the Ball Club, "as an adjoining landowner [of a public street], owed no legal duty to plaintiffs son under the circumstances" despite the foreseeability that someone might run into the street to chase a foul ball (Haymon v. Pettit, 37 A.D.3d 1194, 1195, 829 N.Y.S.2d 766 [4th Dept.2007]). Two Justices dissented and voted to affirm on the ground that a duty existed due to the Ball Club's foul ball promotion, which "played a significant role in creating the danger" (id.).

Plaintiff argues that the Ball Club's foul ball promotion gave rise to a duty to warn or protect its participants. Specifically, plaintiff posits that a duty arose under these circumstances because the Ball Club provided an incentive to fans outside of the stadium to retrieve errant foul balls— namely, the prospect of free tickets. In short, plaintiff argues that the foreseeability of children chasing balls into the street, coupled with defendant's incentive for them to do so, required the Ball Club to provide some measure of protection or warning. We disagree.

9 N.Y.3d 328

An owner or occupier of land generally owes no duty to warn or protect others from a dangerous condition on adjacent property unless the owner created or contributed to such a condition (see Galindo v. Town of Clarkstown, 2 N.Y.3d 633, 636, 781 N.Y.S.2d 249, 814 N.E.2d 419 [2004] ). "The reason for such a rule is

880 N.E.2d 418

obvious—a person who lacks ownership or control of property cannot fairly be held accountable for injuries resulting from a hazard" on neighboring property (id.). Thus, in fixing the duty point, our analysis is tempered by considerations such as "the reasonable expectations of parties and society generally, the proliferation of claims, the likelihood of unlimited or insurer-like liability, disproportionate risk and reparation allocation" (Hamilton v. Beretta U.S.A Corp., 96 N.Y.2d 222, 232, 727 N.Y.S.2d 7, 750 N.E.2d 1055 [2001]; see also Darby v. Compagnie Natl. Air France, 96 N.Y.2d 343, 347, 728 N.Y.S.2d 731, 753 N.E.2d 160 [2001] [duty must "comport with what is socially, culturally and economically acceptable"]).

In Akins v. Glens Falls City School Dist., 53 N.Y.2d 325, 441 N.Y.S.2d 644, 424 N.E.2d 531 (1981) we limited the duty of a baseball field owner/operator to provide screening for errant baseballs around "the most...

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  • Newell v. Mont. W., Inc., No. 281 EDA 2016
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • January 19, 2017
    ...Wire Corp., 799 F.2d 434 (8th Cir. 1986) (Arkansas law); Dudley v. Prima, 84 Nev. 549, 445 P.2d 31 (1968).9 Accord, Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 849 N.Y.S.2d 872, 880 N.E.2d 416, 418 (2007) (ball club had no duty to youngster injured while chasing foul ball hit from its stadium into adja......
  • Hedges v. E. River Plaza, LLC
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • July 23, 2013
    ...caused the injury, however, plaintiffs fail to lay any premise for a duty of care toward the area or instrumentality. Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 328–29, 849 N.Y.S.2d 872, 880 N.E.2d 416 (2007); Darby v. Compagnie Air France, 96 N.Y.2d 343, 347–48, 728 N.Y.S.2d 731, 753 N.E.2d 160 (2001......
  • Hedges v. East River Plaza, LLC, Index No. 101854/2012
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • July 23, 2013
    ...caused the injury, however, plaintiffs fail to lay any premise for a duty of care toward the area or instrumentality. Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 328-29 (2007); Darby v. Compagnie Air France, 96 N.Y.2d 343, 347-48 (2001); Kobre v. United Jewish Appeal-Fedn. of Jewish Philanthropies of N......
  • Berman v. Sitrin, No. 2008-74-Appeal.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • April 20, 2010
    ...after a drunk driver struck him while he was chasing a foul ball into the public street adjacent to the stadium. Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 849 N.Y.S.2d 872, 880 N.E.2d 416, 417 (2007). The stadium sponsored an incentive program in which members of the public who gathered outside the b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Newell v. Mont. W., Inc., No. 281 EDA 2016
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • January 19, 2017
    ...Wire Corp., 799 F.2d 434 (8th Cir. 1986) (Arkansas law); Dudley v. Prima, 84 Nev. 549, 445 P.2d 31 (1968).9 Accord, Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 849 N.Y.S.2d 872, 880 N.E.2d 416, 418 (2007) (ball club had no duty to youngster injured while chasing foul ball hit from its stadium into adja......
  • Hedges v. E. River Plaza, LLC
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • July 23, 2013
    ...caused the injury, however, plaintiffs fail to lay any premise for a duty of care toward the area or instrumentality. Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 328–29, 849 N.Y.S.2d 872, 880 N.E.2d 416 (2007); Darby v. Compagnie Air France, 96 N.Y.2d 343, 347–48, 728 N.Y.S.2d 731, 753 N.E.2d 160 (2001......
  • Hedges v. East River Plaza, LLC, Index No. 101854/2012
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • July 23, 2013
    ...caused the injury, however, plaintiffs fail to lay any premise for a duty of care toward the area or instrumentality. Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 328-29 (2007); Darby v. Compagnie Air France, 96 N.Y.2d 343, 347-48 (2001); Kobre v. United Jewish Appeal-Fedn. of Jewish Philanthropies of N......
  • Berman v. Sitrin, No. 2008-74-Appeal.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • April 20, 2010
    ...after a drunk driver struck him while he was chasing a foul ball into the public street adjacent to the stadium. Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324, 849 N.Y.S.2d 872, 880 N.E.2d 416, 417 (2007). The stadium sponsored an incentive program in which members of the public who gathered outside the b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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