Coaches' Corner*: LOWER FEDERAL COURTS AND STATE COURTS PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION

Article excerpt

Torts

Athlete sued trainers and coaches alleging negligence caused personal injuries. An athlete sustained head injuries during a football game after previously experiencing trauma during practices. The athlete claimed the trainers and coaches were negligent in treating his injuries and failing to adequately communicate with his doctor. Held: For the coaches in part and for the athlete in part. The trainers and coaches asserted immunity as government employees because they acted within the scope of their employment. However, unlike the coaches, the trainers had an independent duty to the athlete by virtue of their trainer licenses. Thus, their immunity defense failed. Sellers v. Rudert, 918 N.E.2d 586 (Dl. App. 4th Dist. 2009).

Athlete sued opponent athlete, school district, and board of education for personal injuries alleging battery and negligence. An athlete sustained injuries after colliding with another player during a school soccer game. The athlete claimed the opponent athlete battered him, and the school district and board of education failed to adequately supervise the game. Held: For the opponent athlete, school district, and board of education. The athlete assumed the risk of these types of collisions incident to playing the sport of soccer. Accordingly, he was responsible for his own injuries. Morabito v. MacArthur, 894 N.Y.S2d 110 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dept. 2010).

Parent sued school district for wrongful death of her son during football practice. During a hot summer practice the student collapsed and died. The school district allowed the coaches to set the time and activities for the practices. Held: For the school district. The school district could not be held liable for the student's death. The school district did not violate any rules or regulations that caused the student's death, and the conduct involved was discretionary. Covington Co. Sch. Dist. v. Magee, 29 So. 3d 1 (Miss. 2010).

Parents of high school student sued school board and recreational camping facility after student drowned while on Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) field trip. Police found the student's body floating in a lake ten days after chaperones reported him missing. Held: For the school board and recreational camping facility. The ROTC instructors warned the student twice that the recreational facility's lake was offlimits. The ROTC instructors reasonably warned and supervised the student and were not required to provide constant supervision. Robinson v. Jefferson Parish Sch. Bd., 9 So. 3d 1035 (La. App. 5th Cir. 2009), cert, denied, 17 So. 3d 975 (La. 2009).

High school student sued school and martial arts instructor alleging negligence. The student dislocated his elbow while participating in a school martial arts class. Held: For the school and martial arts instructor. The instructor taught martial arts under the direction of the school administration. The instructor supervised students and appropriately trained students on safety maneuvers prior to the accident. Thus, he was immune from liability for acts and omissions in the scope of employment. The school was not liable because the instructor's actions were an exercise of judgment and discretion. Noble v. W. Clermont Loc. Sch. Dist., 914 N.E.2d 1128 (Ohio Com. Pleas 2009).

High school football coach sued referee alleging negligence. The referee ran into the coach during a game. As a result of the sideline crash, the coach suffered brain injury and permanent disability. Held: For the referee. The coach was running in the linesman referee's restricted area at the time of the collision. The linesman referee was not negligent while officiating the game prior to the collision and the referee could not have known that the coach would enter the restricted area during live play. Midwest Employers Casualty Co. v. Harpole, 293 S.W.3d 770 (Tex. App. 4th Dist. 2009).

Youth sued camp for injuries sustained during soccer match alleging negligence. …