Rooney v. Battenkill River Sports & Campground Holding Co. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2022)

The risk of falling on natural, rocky terrain is part of the risks inherent in the sport of river tubing.

This case involved a slip and fall on a rock on an access path leading to water tubing on the Battenkill River. The appellate division affirmed the New York Supreme Court’s order dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint. The appellate court found that, although the rock was located on the access path, is was included in the doctrine of primary assumption of risk pertaining to the recreational sports activity and was a foreseeable risk inherent in the activity. Under the primary assumption of risk, the plaintiff’s claims were barred. The facts in this case established that in order to gain access to the river, the plaintiff traversed down an uneven embankment consisting of rock and gravel located on the river embankment. The risk of falling on the natural, rocky terrain is part of the risks inherent in the sport of river tubing. The defendant’s posted signs read, “You assume risk of injury and/or death when participating in river activities.” It had other postings to walk and not run to the river. The plaintiff argued that there were no postings at the access point. However, the facts established that she had previously used the same path. The obvious risk of encountering the rocky and uneven terrain could be readily observed while walking along a riverbank; thus, the court found it did not warrant a duty to warn. Therefore, the dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint was proper under the primary assumption of risk doctrine.


Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2022 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2022 Marshall Dennehey, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.