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Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co.

Court of Appeals of New York
166 N.E. 173 (N.Y. 1929)

Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co.


Steeplechase Amusement Co. (Steeplechase) (defendant) owns and operates an amusement park at Coney Island, New York. One attraction is called “The Flopper.” It consists of a moving belt that causes passengers to be thrown backward or aside based on its jarring movements. The belt runs in a groove and has padded walls and padded flooring. Murphy (plaintiff) stepped on the belt and attempted to ride it. He was accompanied by his wife and other members of their party. The belt suddenly jerked and Murphy, his wife, and other members of the party fell down. Most were uninjured, but Murphy suffered a fractured kneecap. He brought suit against Steeplechase on the ground that “The Flopper” was dangerous to life and limb because of its violent jerking, stops, and starts. Additionally, Murphy alleged the belt was not properly equipped to prevent injury to its riders, and was operated at a fast and dangerous speed. Finally, Murphy alleged the belt did not contain a proper guardrail to prevent the falling of its riders. The trial court granted judgment for Murphy, and the appellate court affirmed. Steeplechase appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cardozo, C.J.)

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