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RAUCH v. PENNSYLVANIA SPORTS AND ENTERPRISES (06/27/51)

June 27, 1951

RAUCH
v.
PENNSYLVANIA SPORTS AND ENTERPRISES, INC., APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 183 and 184, March T., 1950, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1944, No. 2171, in case of Charlotte Rauch et vir. v. Pennsylvania Sports and Enterprises, Inc. Judgments reversed.

COUNSEL

James J. Burns, Jr., for appellant.

Saul Chersky, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Chidsey

[ 367 Pa. Page 632]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

Charlotte Rauch and Elmer M. Rauch, her husband, appellees, instituted this action in trespass against Pennsylvania Sports and Enterprises, Inc., to

[ 367 Pa. Page 633]

    recover damages for injuries sustained by the wife when, as a patron of appellant's ice skating rink, she was run into and knocked down by another patron. A jury returned verdicts in favor of both husband and wife. These appeals are from a dismissal of defendant's motion for judgment non obstante veredicto and for a new trial.

Pennsylvania Sports and Enterprises, Inc., on December 9, 1941, operated an ice skating rink known as "The Gardens", situate at 110 North Craig Street, Pittsburgh. The rink is rectangular and extends in length from Craig Street to Neville Street. The skating area, 180 x 85 feet, is surrounded by rows of seats for spectators. The entrance to the rink is on Craig Street and the exit on Neville Street. The main body of skaters circle the rink counter-clockwise. The center is used for fancy skating. Beginners' sessions, largely attended by children although also open to and used by adults, were held on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Mrs. Rauch, on Tuesday, December 9, 1941, accompanied by her two children, James, age 16, and Eleanor, age 7, entered defendant's rink about 6:00 p.m. to attend a beginners' skating session. On entering upon the ice, Mrs. Rauch was immediately aware that other patrons, primarily boys, skated against the counter-clockwise flow, played games, chased each other and cut across the ice in all directions. There were uniformed guards at the rink, but they took no action to stop these practices which went on practically continuously. Mrs. Rauch and her daughter skated for approximately half an hour but during this time left the ice on at least four occasions because of the danger. On the last occasion skaters cutting in and out contrary to the flow of skaters almost knocked her daughter out of her hands. She complained to the guard, who, although he said he would see what could be done, skated off with a girl companion and did nothing. No

[ 367 Pa. Page 634]

    effort on the part of any of the several guards was made at any time to stop the conduct complained of. Mrs. Rauch and her daughter after ten or fifteen minutes returned to the ice ...


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