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Attorney Cleared in Motorcycle Injury Case

(CN) - The Oregon Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit accusing an attorney of suing the wrong property owner after his client was injured during a motorcycle rally.

Mike Kelly entered a poker-playing and motorcycle-riding contest called The Poker Run at a West Coast motorcyclist gathering.

During the run, riders followed a game of five-card stud through a five-leg motorcycle course. Riders drew a card at each juncture and compared hands at course's end to determine the winner of the pot.

Kelly was injured during the event's first leg, when his motorcycle collided with a car.

He claimed his former attorney, Samuel Israel Hochberg, should have sued the Bureau of Land Management instead of Josephine County, because the BLM owned the road where the accident took place.

Hochberg initially sued the county, but later found out the county did not own the road. By then, the deadline to sue had passed.

The court upheld a lower court's ruling for the attorney, saying Kelly would have lost any personal injury claim. Kelly was injured while participating in a recreational activity, the court explained, which exempts the landowners from liability.

Kelly argued that he was engaged in travel, not recreation, at the time of

the accident.

But the appeals court viewed The Poker Run as a "patently recreational event." The "entire run" had a recreational purpose, including the motorcycle route, the court ruled.

"Poker Run was a motorcycle rally, not a poker tournament," Judge Landau wrote. "The travel itself was the recreation."

The Poker Run was part of the Iron Horse Rodeo, an annual event held in Lake Selmac, Ore.

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