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Draper v. Trace Creek Girls' Softball, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

December 14, 2018

BREANNA R. DRAPER APPELLANT
v.
TRACE CREEK GIRLS' SOFTBALL, INC. APPELLEE AND BREANNA R. DRAPER APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF CAMPBELLSVILLE, KENTUCKY APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM TAYLOR CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE ALLAN RAY BERTRAM, JUDGE ACTION NO. 15-CI-00108

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Joseph H. Mattingly, III Kaelin G. Reed Elmer J. George Dallas E. George Lebanon, Kentucky.

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE TRACE CREEK GIRLS' SOFTBALL, INC.: Ashley K. Brown Graham D. Barth Lexington, Kentucky.

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE CITY OF CAMPBELLSVILLE: Jason Bell Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

          BEFORE: GOODWINE, MAZE, AND NICKELL, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          GOODWINE, JUDGE:

         Breanna Draper appeals grants of summary judgment to both the City of Campbellsville and Trace Creek Girls' Softball, Inc., on the basis that each entity is immune from liability under the "recreational purpose" provision of Kentucky Revised Statute ("KRS") 411.190. Having reviewed the record in light of applicable legal authority, we affirm the judgments of the Taylor Circuit Court.

         BACKGROUND

         While playing softball for a team associated with Trace Creek Girls' Softball, Inc., on a field owned by the City of Campbellsville, appellant Breanna Draper[1] fractured her ankle sliding into second base. Breanna sued both the City and Trace Creek league alleging that she sustained the injury because fixed rather than break-away bases had been used on the playing field.

         Appellee Trace Creek operates a girls' recreational softball league and organizes games which are held on the softball fields of city-owned Trace Creek Park. To participate in the league, each participant must pay a fee of $55.00 to Trace Creek league which it uses to pay for umpires, softballs, scoreboards, catcher's equipment, and game-related expenses. Trace Creek league is responsible for dragging the field prior to each league game, laying the chalk lines on the infields, purchasing equipment, and generally maintaining the fields. The City is responsible for mowing the grass, weed control, changing light bulbs, repairing the concession stand building, and bringing in dirt for the infield.

         The City provides the land for recreational use to the public at large and allowed the Trace Creek league to play on the fields as well. There is no fee for entry, admission, or parking at the Trace Creek Park regardless of who is using the park. In response to Breanna's suit, both the Trace Creek league and the City filed motions for summary judgment, citing the provisions of KRS 411.190 as affording them immunity from liability. KRS 411.190(1)(c), (3) and (6)(b) provide immunity to the owner of land if it is used for a recreational purpose, provided that no fee or admission price is asked in return for permission to use the land. In separate opinions entered on August 25, 2017, circuit court granted summary judgment to both the City and Trace Creek league.

         Because these appeals involve identical facts and issues, in the interest of judicial economy we have elected to address the issues presented by both parties in a single opinion.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Because summary judgment involves no fact finding, we review alleged error in its entry de novo. "[T]he standard 'is whether the trial court correctly found that there were no genuine issues as to any material fact and that the moving party was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Bryant v. Jefferson Mall Co., L.P., 486 S.W.3d 310, 312 (Ky. App. 2015) (quoting Scifres v. Kraft, 916 S.W.2d 779, 781 (Ky. App. 1996)). We review the record "in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party and resolve all doubts in her favor." Id. (citing Steelvest, Inc. v. Scansteel Serv. Ctr., Inc., 807 S.W.2d 476, 480 (Ky. 1991)). Because only legal questions and no ...


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