New Street Fighting App May Be Beaten By The Punching Power Of NY Laws

There are apps for everything. From ordering pizza to finding love, you need only launch a program. Now there is Rumblr, an app for finding fights – Fight Club style.

The app allows users to schedule consensual, recreational fights with local strangers for free.

Rumblr has been previewed by media outlets like Venture Beat, New York magazine and Business Insider, while the New York Daily News claims private investors are “lining up” to fund the app. This is promising stuff for the developers at Rumblr Inc, but some legal experts are saying Rumblr may itself be defeated if it comes down to a legal fight.

Rumblr Inc. is headquartered in New York, where street fighting is outlawed and participants can be prosecuted for disorderly conduct.

New York state law does allows for certain types of organized, consensual fighting like karate and boxing, but some criminal attorneys say Rumblr fights do not fall into the category of legal fighting. Because of this, anyone seriously injured has no legal claim for compensation and the “attacker” can be charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanor assault all the way to homicide.

Peter Tilem, a New York-based lawyer and the former senior prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, says if Rumblr’s creators are found to have encouraged “an assault” they can be liable for  “criminal facilitation in the fourth degree” charges. He says that Rumblr Inc. could also be sued in civil court proceedings by injured fighters or their families.

“Under New York State law, it’s extremely problematic,” Tilem says.

The owners of  Rumblr Inc. appear to be two teenagers, Jack Kim a National Merit Scholar whose LinkedIn profile says he is a Stanford student, and Matt Henderson a recent high school graduate. In their profiles, both say they are “lifelong recreational fighters”.

Neither Kim and Henderson have spoken directly to the media yet.