PLST 201 CB 2.dotx - Hackbart v Cincinnati Bengals Inc 601 F.2d 516(1979 CASE BRIEF Parties Charles Hackbart Plaintiff-Appellant Cincinnati Bengals Inc

PLST 201 CB 2.dotx - Hackbart v Cincinnati Bengals Inc 601...

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Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals, Inc.,601 F.2d 516 (1979).CASE BRIEFParties:Charles Hackbart, Plaintiff-AppellantCincinnati Bengals, Inc., and Charles “Booby” Clark, Defendants-AppelleesFacts: In 1973, a game between the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals was played at Denver Stadium. The Broncos' defensive back, Dale Hackbart, was the recipient of the injury and the Bengals' offensive back, Charles "Booby" Clark, inflicted the blow which produced it. Clark admitted during testimony that the blow had been intentionally administered.This flowed directly from a play where the Bengal’s intercepted a pass by the Bronco’s. As a consequence of the interception, the roles of Hackbart and Clark suddenly changed. Hackbart, who had been defending, instantaneously became an offensive player. Clark, on the other hand, became a defensive player. Acting as an offensive player, Hackbart attempted to block Clark by throwing his body in front of him. He thereafter remained on the ground. He turned, and with one knee on the ground, watched the play following the interception. Charles Clark stepped forward and struck a blow with his right forearm to the back of the kneeling plaintiff's head and neck with sufficient force to cause both players to fall forward to the ground. Both players, without complaining to the officials or to one another, returned to their respective sidelines since the ball had changed hands and the offensive and defensive teams of each had been substituted. Due to the failure of the officials to view the incident, a foul was not called. However, the game film showed very clearly what had occurred. Plaintiff did not at the time report the happening to his coaches or to anyone else during the game. However, because of the pain which he experienced he was unable to play golf the next day. He did not seek medical attention, but the continued pain caused him to report this fact and the incident to the Bronco trainer who gave himtreatment. He sought medical help and it was then that it was discovered by the physician that he had a serious neck fracture injury.Procedural History:Charles Hackbart, plaintiff, initiated the case against Charles “Booby” Clark and Cincinnati Bengals, Inc., defendants, in the United States District Court for the Districtof Colorado, to consider the question of liability from an injury sustained during a football game.This was decided before a judge with no jury. 1.Despite the fact that the defendant Charles Clark admitted that the blow which had been struck was not accidental, that it was intentionally administered, the trial court ruled as a matter of law that the game of professional football is basically a business which is violent in nature, and that the available sanctions are imposition of penalties and expulsion from the game. Notice was taken of the fact that many fouls are overlooked; that the game is played in an emotional and noisy environment; and that incidents such as that here complained of are not unusual. The district court's
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