How are the Parties?
a race car driver.
Motorsports (speedway) is race track.
Outlaws is the organizer of the event.
practice on media day, Wolfgangs car hit a tire at the edge
which cause him to hit the wall.
caught on fire.
firefighters were not adequately trained or equipped, they were
unable to rescue him for 8 to 10 minutes.
As a result,
he suffered injury that could have been prevented by proper fire
sued Speedway and World of Outlaws.
that he was a third-party beneficiary of a contract entered into
between World of Outlaws and Speedway.
Outlaws had undertaken a duty to ensure safe racing conditions,
including adequate fire protection, during the practice session.
against the defendants.
against World of Outlaws on the theory that Wolfgang was the
intended beneficiary of the K between World of Outlaws and
World of Outlaw Argues
It is merely
a sanctioning body for sprint car races.
It owed no
duty to provide or ensure adequate fire protection for sprint
sufficient evidence to show that World of Outlaws owed a duty to
Mr. Wolfgang to ensure safe racing conditions on the day of the
Motorsports and World of Outlaws contracted to stage sprint car
races at Lakeside Speedway.
into a standard contract, written by World of Outlaws, which
Mid-America Motorsports was not permitted to change or deviate
from in any way.
World of Outlaws officials shall have the right to cancel any
event due to unsafe racing conditions."
Wolfgang - Provision Created a Contractual Obligation
alleged that this provision created a contractual obligation on
the part of World of Outlaws to ensure that racing
conditions were safe, and that as a participating driver,
he was a third-party
beneficiary to this provision in the contract.
World of Outlaws Wolfgang is not a third-party beneficiary
was not a third-party beneficiary to this contract.
Even if he
was, the contract only covered the
actual race days of April 4 and 5, and
not the media day practice session
on April 3 during which the crash occurred.
Intended Beneficiaries Rule
may sue for damages resulting
from the breach of a contractual obligation, even though he
is not a party to the contract and
had no knowledge of it when
he is an intended
beneficiary of that obligation.
not necessary that the third party be
identified in the contract or at the time of
contracting in order to be an intended beneficiary.
plaintiff is entitled to recover either in contract or in tort.
Determining Intent of Contracting Parties
must apply the general rules for construction of contracts.
intention of the parties and the meaning of the
contract are to be determined from the instrument
itself where the
terms are plain and unambiguous.
will consider evidence of the facts and circumstances
surrounding its execution when the
instrument is ambiguous on its face and requires aid
to clarify its intent.
is ambiguous when the words used to express the meaning and
intention of the parties are insufficient in the
sense the contract may be understood to reach two or more
Courts - Analysis of Clause
Outlaws officials "shall have the right to cancel any event due
to unsafe racing conditions."
We think it
unassailable [impossible to dispute] that the adequacy of
fire protection for drivers is contemplated in the phrase
"unsafe racing conditions."
"unsafe racing conditions" can only reasonably refer to the
World of Outlaws member-drivers and the race-going
public who may be trackside watching the race.
It is clear
Wolfgang is a beneficiary
instrument could be
construed as clearly and unambiguously expressing the
parties' intent that "safe racing conditions" benefit drivers
such as Mr. Wolfgang.
It is not
clear that he was not a beneficiary (saying the same thing)
certainly not a clear and unambiguous expression that the
parties did not intend
to benefit the race car drivers.
Courts Analysis If contract was ambiguous
look[s] to the evidence adduced at trial to determine if the
race car drivers were intended beneficiaries.
of Parties Intent
President of World of Outlaws admitted they obligation to ensure
safe racing conditions.
that the drivers were the direct beneficiaries of that
acknowledged that the presence of adequate fire fighting
equipment was one of the requirements for a race track to be
that World of Outlaws had a responsibility to its member drivers
to bring them only to racetracks that had adequate fire fighting
that if a track did not have adequate fire fighting capabilities
as part of its safety equipment,
World of Outlaws drivers would
be unnecessarily exposed to excessive danger.
reached the same conclusion using extrinsic evidence to clarify
the ambiguous K provision.
Outlaws owed a legal duty to its member-drivers to ensure that
Lakeside Speedway had adequate protection on the day Wolfgang