August 17, 2009
Any fan that's attended an NHL game has been bombarded by safety warnings about pucks flying into the stands; and that was even before the mosquito nets were draped behind the goals seven years ago. It's also spelled out on the back of every arena ticket that the holder assumes "all risk and danger" in attending the event.
What made University at Buffalo professor Bruce Jackson's negligence lawsuit against Buffalo Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano's Western New York Arena LLC intriguing, at least on its surface, was that he claimed his injuries were the result of arena safety measures actually causing him harm.
According to the Buffalo News, Jackson sought $300,000 after a section of Plexiglas fell on him during an Ottawa Senators/Buffalo Sabres playoff game in May 2007; he was treated at the game, and remained in the stands.
He later claimed that he "ended up receiving three months of physical therapy that failed to completely restore the full range of motion to his head and neck," according to the paper. When he filed the suit in 2008, Jackson recalled thinking "I'm going to die" when the glass fell on him.
So if something put in place to protect spectators ends up hurting them, is the arena/team at fault? Last Friday, a State Supreme Court jury in New York rejected the suit -- thankfully. Imagine if every freak glass incident resulted in litigation; talk about sucking the fun out of that Lucic hit. You buy the ticket, you assume the risk. Besides, the glass did manage to protect Jackson from two professional hockey players barreling into him in the front row. Which would have caused a bit of damage.
In searching to see if there was a video clip of the Senators/Sabres game in question, we came across this clip from
2006 1999-2000 that's just remarkable ... as well as being a reminder that even when it shatters, the glass if protecting fans from something potentially worse. Maybe this is why they relocated the goal judges: