Torts I, Pages 98–100

Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 1979

Facts:

Hackbart and Bengals player Clark were playing a game of football. Out of frustration of losing, Clark intentionally punched Hackbart in the back of the head. Punching in the head is against the rules of the game and not approved by general custom among players.

Procedural History:

The trial court found that, since football was a violent game consensually partaken in by both, the plaintiff consented to the punch.

Issue:

Is consenting to playing football consenting to being punched in the back of the head?

Rule:

Consent to one violent activity does not give implied consent to violence done outside the bounds of the activity.

Reasoning:

Football is not unbounded violence. The rules forbid punching in the head, and the general customs of football disapprove of intentional striking of others. As this is not a part of football, it is not an activity that was consented to when the football was consented to.

Holding:

No, being punched in the head is not a part of football, either in rule or custom. Reversed and remanded.

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