Indiana Supreme Court Creates Resolves Confusion in Sport Cases

On May 18, 2011, the Indiana Supreme Court resolved the confusion surrounding in Indiana appellate case law in the area of sport injuries. The case which the high court reviewed and vacated was Pfenning vs. Lineman 2011 WL 1885261. In Pfenning, a minor was struck in the mouth by a golf ball while operating a beverage cart while at an golf outing. After reviewing the disparate holdings on which standard of care to apply to a bystander/participant at a sporting event when injured by a participant, the Court wrote:


“We hold that, in negligence claims against a participant in a sports activity, if the conduct of such participant is within the range of ordinary behavior of participants in the sport, the conduct is reasonable as a matter of law and does not constitute a breach.”
In ruling in this manner, the Supreme Court indicated that it was dealing with this case within the framework of existing Indiana statutory law and jurisdiction. The consequence of this holding resulted in the minor losing her case to the golfer who struck her.

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