Statute did not require nor did the ANSI requirement state that the defendant trampoline park needed to tell the plaintiff, he was too fat and unskilled to jump on the trampoline.
Redmond v. Spring Loaded I, LLC, 349683Court of Appeals of Michigan, May 06, 2021
Plaintiff: Scott Redmond
Defendant: Spring Loaded I, LLC, and Spring Loaded III, LLC, Defendants, and Spring Loaded II, LLC, doing business as Airtime Trampoline-Sterling Heights
Plaintiff Claims: Failure to comply with Michigan’s Trampoline Court Safety Act, MCL 691.1731 et seq.
Defendant Defenses: It complied with the Michigan’s Trampoline Court Safety Act, MCL 691.1731 et seq.
Holding: For the Defendant
A 47-year-old 275 man was injured while attempting to jump from one trampoline to another at the defendant’s trampoline facility. He claimed the defendant had a duty to warn him of the risks and failed to follow ANSI standards.
The court found the plaintiff assumed the risks, so there was no duty to warn and ANSI standards were created for manufacturers and designers of trampolines, not operators.
Plaintiff, a 47 year-old, 275 pound man, sustained a severe ankle injury while jumping on a trampoline at a facility owned and operated by Spring Loaded II. Plaintiff’s injury was captured on a surveillance camera. Spring Loaded II’s trampoline court facility is a large room filled with trampolines that are connected to one another by padded frames. Plaintiff’s injury occurred as he attempted to jump from one trampoline to another. He gained momentum to hurdle a two-foot-wide section of padding by jumping near the edge of the trampoline. In doing so, his ankle buckled and he fell onto the trampoline. Although he was in close proximity to the padding, it does not appear that he touched the padding when he landed.
Analysis: making sense of the law based on these facts.
This is simply an interpretation of a surveillance video and the application of a statute to what the court saw on the video. The statute is the Michigan Trampoline Court Safety Act, § 691.1731 et. seq.
§ 691.1731. Short title This act shall be known and may be cited as the ‘trampoline court safety act’.”
Mich. Comp. Laws 691.1731 Short title
§ 691.1733. Operator; duties
An operator shall do all of the following:
(a) Post the duties of trampoliners and spectators as prescribed in this act and the duties, obligations, and liabilities of operators as prescribed in this act in conspicuous places.
(b) Comply with the safety standards specified in ASTM F2970 – 13, “Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture, Installation, Operation, Maintenance, Inspection and Major Modification of Trampoline Courts” published in 2013 by the American society for testing and materials.
(c) Maintain the trampoline court according to the safety standards cited in subdivision (b).
(d) Maintain the stability and legibility of all required signs, symbols, and posted notices.
§ 691.1735. Trampoliner; duties
While in a trampoline court, a trampoliner shall do all of the following:
(a) Maintain reasonable control of his or her speed and course at all times.
(b) Read and follow all posted signs and warnings.
(c) Avoid bodily contact with other trampoliners or spectators.
(d) Not run on trampolines, over pads, or on platforms.
(e) Refrain from acting in a manner that may cause injury to others.
(f) Not participate in a trampoline court when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
(g) Properly use all trampoline court safety equipment provided.
(h) Not participate in a trampoline court if he or she has a preexisting medical condition, a bone condition, a circulatory condition, a heart or lung condition, a back or neck condition, high blood pressure, or a history of spine, musculoskeletal, or head injury, if he or she has had recent surgery, or if she may be pregnant.
(i) Remove inappropriate attire, including hard, sharp, or dangerous objects, such as buckles, pens, purses, or badges.
(j) Conform with or meet height, weight, or age restrictions imposed by the operator to use or participate in the trampoline court activity.
(k) Avoid crowding or overloading individual sections of the trampoline court.
(l) Use the trampoline court within his or her own limitations, training, and acquired skills.
(m) Avoid landing on the head or neck. Serious injury, paralysis, or death can occur from that activity.
The simple analysis of the plaintiff’s argument is the ANSI code which applies to the manufacturing of Trampolines was not met by the defendant, and the defendant did not pass on required notices established by the code to the plaintiff.
The first issue was defendants failed to pass on the size restrictions that ANSI requirements might require. The court denied this argument by stating the ANSI code applied to manufacturers not trampoline owners or operators.
However, ASTM F2970-13 § 6 applies only to “designers/engineers or manufacturers” of trampolines and § A.1.1.4 applies only to manufacturers. Spring Loaded II is an operator of a trampoline court facility and plaintiff presented no evidence that Spring Loaded designed or manufactured the trampoline.
The next issue was ANSI required an operation’s plate to be firmly affixed to the trampoline. The defendant argued there was no operation’s plate because the trampoline did not come with one. The operation’s information was to include the maximum size of someone allowed on the trampoline. At the time of his injury, the plaintiff testified in his deposition; he weighed 275 pounds.
The court struck this argument down because the failure to post the plate was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injury. There must be a causal connection, proximate cause, to prove negligence. Generally, the court found trampolines are designed to hold 300 lbs., so that would not have changed the issues with the plaintiff since he weighed less than the design of the trampoline. Finally, there was no argument by the plaintiff that if the information were posted, he would not have used the trampoline.
However, even if a reasonable trier of fact could find that Spring Loaded II violated ASTM F2970-13 § 9.1 by failing to post the information plate, no reasonable trier of fact could find that the omission caused plaintiff’s injury. Under ASTM F2970-13 § 6.8.[ 3], trampoline manufacturers are generally required to design trampolines that are able to support users weighing 300 pounds and plaintiff testified in his deposition that he weighed approximately 275 pounds on the date of his injury. Thus, plaintiff would not have been informed that he exceeded the maximum user weight even if the information plate had been posted. Moreover, plaintiff failed to present any evidence that he would not have used the trampolines if the information plate had been posted.
The plaintiff argued the defendant violated an ANSI standard for:
…failing to develop and communicate information regarding the risks associated with jumping near the edge of the trampoline bed or the risks associated with jumping from one trampoline to another, thereby causing plaintiff’s injury.
Again, the court struck this down because the ANSI standard was for designers and manufacturers not operators. The standard argued by the plaintiff that was not met also had a duty to inform the manufacture of any incident within seven days of the incident which was not done in this case. Again, the failure to notify the manufacture of the incident within seven days was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
The plaintiff next argued the defendant had a duty to warn of the risks of jumping on a trampoline when you were fat or the risks of jumping from one trampoline to another.
The court found the defendant did not have a duty to warn of jumping on a trampoline near the edge or jumping from one trampoline to another. The statute states “An individual who participates in trampolining accepts the danger that inheres in that activity insofar as the dangers are obvious and necessary.” An assumption of the risk statement set out in the statute. Based on the video, the plaintiff clearly accepted the risks of his actions and as such assumed the risk requiring no duty to warn on the part of the defendant.
The plaintiff argued:
Plaintiff contends that product sellers have a duty to transmit safety-related information when they know or should know that the buyer or user is unaware of the information, and this duty may be attributed to a successor in possession of the product. Plaintiff posits that Spring Loaded II had a duty to transmit safety-related information to its patrons regarding the increased risks associated with patron weight and jumping from one trampoline to another because Spring Loaded II was a successor in possession of trampolines.
However, this argument fails because it speaks to defects in the product. In this case, there were no defects in the trampoline that caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
There was a dissent in the decision. The dissenting judge agreed with the majority that there was no violation of the Michigan Trampoline Safety Act. However, the dissent did believe that there was a valid failure to warn claim. This argument stems from the dissenting judges view of the video where he believes the plaintiff’s toe touched the foam padding at the edge of the trampoline, leading to a requirement on the part of the defendant to warn patrons of jumping from mat to mat. Because the dissenting judge viewed the video differently than from the majority, he felt that factual issues should be allowed to go to the jury.
However, the dissent is just that, a minority opinion and the majority opinion is the way the decision is handled.
The circuit court properly granted Spring Loaded II’s motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10). Accordingly, we affirm.
So Now What?
The defendant should immediately post notices of the dangers of jumping from trampoline to trampoline and other risks. Just because the defendant won the appeal does not mean that the dissent is not an important legal analysis that can be ignored.
- Included in those warnings should be one about fitness and weight of anyone jumping.
- Included in those warnings should be one about fitness and weight of anyone jumping.
- The defendant should use a release. A release in Michigan would have stopped this lawsuit sooner or might have prevented it from starting.
- I would even post the Michigan Trampoline Safety Act duties required of a patron, and the risks accepted by a patron.
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