Certain sports such as football and hockey are associated with violence and injury, but these injuries typically occur during the actual games. Few people expect to get hurt at the arena when they’re not playing.
Unfortunately, this is what happened earlier this spring when ESPN anchor Linda Cohn visited the Brewster Ice Arena in Brewster, New York. Although Cohn was a goalie while attending SUNY Oswego and was therefore no stranger to hockey, her injuries at the arena were sustained in a “freak accident” off the ice.
According to news reports, she was in the arena’s arcade and suffered a deep gash in her arm when “a heavy, large coin change machine fell upon her.” The injury required 25 stitches and Cohn says she still experiences a significant amount of pain and has been unable to resume many normal activities that she used to enjoy.
Recently, the ESPN anchor filed a negligence lawsuit against the owners of the arena. Despite her admission that kids playing in the arcade were ultimately responsible for causing the accident, she is nonetheless seeking to hold the arena owners liable.
Business owners cannot prevent all injuries and accidents caused by customers. However, they do have a duty to make their premises as safe as possible, which includes expelling unruly customers and ensuring that heavy equipment is properly secured in place.
It’s also important to remember that high-profile lawsuits like this one can prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. In one news article, Cohn’s attorney explained that this was one of her goals in filing the lawsuit. In reference to the coin machine, he said: “It's the kind of a machine that should not be allowed to fall on anyone under any circumstances. Imagine what would have happened if it fell on a kid. It's bad enough what happened to (Linda).”
Source: New York Daily News, “ESPN anchor sues hockey arena over 'freak accident' that gashed her arm,” Dareh Gregorian, Aug. 21, 2014