Amusement Industry Supreme Court Cases

Monday, November 28, 2005 11:58 PM
I've been doing some research for an assignment regarding supreme court cases pertaining to the amusement industry and I'm not coming up with much. Are any of you aware of any cases off hand?

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 1:03 AM
You won't find any. They all stop at the state level. Its not a federal regulated industry. Sorry Mrs. Markey.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:04 AM
There are many state Supreme Court cases involving amusement rides. Probably the best-known case regarding assumption of risk came from a Coney Island ride called the Flopper. (It's Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 166 N.E. 173 (N.Y. 1929).) That opinion by Justice Cardozo originated the phrase "The timorous stay at home" in connection with inferring the assumption of inherent risks when doing things like jumping onto a moving conveyor belt. There's a terrific piece, questioning a lot of the basic factual assumptions of the opinion, in a book called Torts Stories (, and the case is in many first-year Torts books. So if you are interested in state supreme court cases, there are a lot out there.

Most of the U.S. Supreme Court cases involving amusement parks have to do with laws relating to public accommodations -- integration of Glen Echo, some references in ADA cases, etc. To my knowledge, no carnival cases relating to the CPSC (the federal agency with jurisdiction over non-fixed rides) have made their way to the Supreme Court.

The lack of U.S. Supreme Court cases is not really because the federal government doesn't regulate the parks, but because the litigation involving parks tends to implicate state tort law, which the Court doesn't deal with much. Relatively little of the state litigation that relates to the amusement industry is related to the regulation of the parks.


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