The Spectator as Plaintiff
Spectators at sporting events are exposed to special risks. Racing cars occasionally hurtle over barriers and injure spectators. Foul balls, errant pucks, and misplayed golf balls strike spectators with some regularity. Spectators injure one another in their quest for souvenirs. On occasion, the spectator-heckler is injured by the short-tempered participant. This chapter focuses on those instances in which the spectator becomes a plaintiff in a civil suit.
Of primary concern here is the spectator's cause of action against the owner of the sports facility in which the event takes place. The owner's duty of care depends on the status of the plaintiff, who is traditionally categorized as either a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee. Restatement § 329 defines a trespasser as "a person who enters or remains upon land in possession of another without a privilege to do so created by the possessor's consent or otherwise." Restatement § 330 defines a licensee as "a person who is privileged to enter or remain on land only by virtue of the possessor's consent." Restatement § 332 defines an invitee as either a "public invitee" or a "business visitor." A public invitee is "a person who is invited to enter or remain on land as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public." A business visitor is "a person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with business dealings with the possessor of land."
The trespasser is the least-protected class of plaintiffs. The traditional common law rule was that the possessor owed no duty to trespassers to make the premises safe. The only duty owed was to refrain from intentionally harming the trespasser. Over the years, a number of exceptions have been recognized. Although the precise nature of the duty