Assumption of the Risk Doctrine Still Alive and Well in California

Summer is fast approaching which means families will be flocking to amusement parks and carnivals throughout the state.  A recent California appellate case entitled Griffin v. The Haunted Hotel, Inc. (2015) WL 7355112, affirmed the age-old Assumption of the Risk Doctrine in California tort law.

Briefly, plaintiff sued the Haunted Hotel, Inc. which ran the Haunted Trail, for injuries plaintiff suffered when he was running from an actor wielding a gas powered chainsaw (saw was deactivated.)  The trial court granted the Haunted Hotel’s motion for summary judgment, determining under the Assumption of the Risk Doctrine that the defendant did not have any duty to plaintiff.  In essence, the court concluded that the risk of being frightened, running and possibly falling is inherent in the purpose of entering an amusement attraction like a haunted house.

The moral of the story:  if you don’t want to be scared out of your wits, don’t go into a haunted house.