Gallagher v. Cleveland Browns Football Co.

74 Ohio St.3d 427, 659 N.E.2d 1232 (1996)

Gallagher, a sportscaster, was operating a video camera at a Cleveland Browns football game. The Browns required him to kneel while shooting video, which made it impossible for him to avoid a collision with two football players in the field’s end zone. Gallagher suffered a broken jaw requiring multiple surgeries. He became disabled from his occupation as a result of his injuries.

The jury found the Browns negligent, also finding that Gallagher’s assumption of risk contributed to his own injuries in the amount of 35 percent. Gallagher’s verdict was for $800,000. But after the verdict was decided, the defendant attempted to raise a new defense theory.

The Supreme Court of Ohio held that when defendants want to rely on a defense theory, they must raise if before or during trial. The court prevented the defendant from raising the defense and upheld the jury verdict for Gallagher.