Plaintiff Assumed Risk of Funplex Foam Balls (NJ)

In Osei-Amoako v. Stafford FEC, Plaintiff broke her ankle when she slipped and fell on foam balls while supervising her four-year-old son in an amusement attraction, Foam Frenzy, at the Funplex owned and operated by defendant. The court granted summary judgment to defendant, holding that plaintiff’s injury was not caused by defendant’s breach of duty, but due to her own conduct.  Plaintiff appealed from the order, contending that the judge erred because the facts supported plaintiff’s theory of liability against defendants.

The Foam Frenzy is an amusement attraction for children. There are 8,000 to 10,000 foam balls throughout the attraction which is set up so that participants can chase each other, throw foam balls at each other, and dodge foam balls while playing in the attraction. Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell on one of more than fifty foam balls in her immediate area while walking toward her son. She alleged that the foam balls blended into the carpeted floor.  Additionally, she witnesses two Foam Frenzy employees attempting to fix an inoperable vacuum that was used by participants to suck up and recirculate the loose foam balls back onto designated areas.

The court recognized that defendants owed plaintiff a duty of reasonable care to maintain a safe environment. However, the court held that defendants did not breach that duty and there was no dangerous condition in the Foam Frenzy.  The court opined that the main component of the Foam Frenzy was to play in an area overfilled with foam balls.

The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s holding, as plaintiff’s injury was the result of slipping on a foam ball, and no reasonable juror could find that defendants breached its duty of care when plaintiff was engaged in the very activity that she and her son expected.  Essentially, she assumed the risk inherent in a foam ball kiddie park… whatever risk that may have been.  Thanks to Steve Kim for his contribution to this post.  Please email Brian Gibbons with any questions.