Archive for the ‘Cheerleading’ Category

Quite a Show – Concussed Cheerleader Barred From Making Claim RE Failed High School Cheer Stunt (CA)

April 30, 2015

Baggay v. Linfield Christian School (California)
(not published)

A high school cheerleader suffered a concussion while performing a stunt during practice.  She filed a lawsuit against the school, asserting causes of action for (1) “negligence/recklessness,” (2) “false promise,” and (3) negligent misrepresentation.  The school filed a motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative summary adjudication, on the grounds that the claims were barred by the primary assumption of risk doctrine and that the plaintiff could not establish the essential elements of her false promise (promissory fraud) and misrepresentation claims.  The trial court granted the school’s motion, and the cheerleader appealed.

On appeal, the cheerleader argued that her claims were not barred by primary assumption of the risk “because a concussion is not an inherent risk of cheerleading,”  The Court of Appeals for California disagreed, stating that “‘[i]nherent risk’ does not refer to the type of injury that the plaintiff sustains or the manner in which the injury occurred, but rather the reason for the injury.” (Emphasis in the original.)  The Court continued, “An inherent risk is one that, if eliminated, would fundamentally alter the nature of the sport or deter vigorous participation.”  The plaintiff was injured because the group of cheerleaders failed to properly execute a stunt they had previously practiced and had previously successfully executed.  It is fundamental to the nature of modern cheerleading that teams will practice and perform stunts that involve the risk of injury.  Thus, “any type of injury that reasonably could be expected to result from such a fall is an inherent risk of modern cheerleading.” (Emphasis in the original.) (more…)

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Taking One for the Team – Minor Cheerleader Assumed the Risk of Practicing with an Injured Teammate (NY)

April 23, 2015

Photo by Adam Burke. No changes made.

Kurt T. Jurgensen, as Parent and Natural Guardian of Jayna R. Jurgensen (New York)

A minor student was injured while working with her teammates on a choreographed stunt that involved two cheerleaders (the “bases”) throwing the student into the air and then catching her.  The stunt was completed successfully on the first attempt on the day of the incident, but on the second attempt, the student felt plaintiff in her knee when her teammates threw her up in the air.  The student suffered a ligament injury to her knee, and she alleged that the injury occurred because one of her teammates was practicing that day with a sprained ankle, which caused her to hold the student’s foot for too long before throwing her in the air.  The student’s father filed a lawsuit on the student’s behalf, alleging that the school district was negligent in allowing the injured teammate to participate in the practice.  The defendant moved for summary judgment, contending that the action was barred by the doctrine of assumption of risk.  The Supreme Court of New York denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York reversed the decision.  The Court concluded that the plaintiff’s daughter knew that her teammate was injured, and that the teammate had not been cleared to practice.  Additionally, the plaintiff’s daughter had performed the stunt with the same teammate earlier on the day in question, and the daughter said she had noticed the based was “a little more shaky” than usual.  Despite this knowledge, the daughter testified that she “didn’t think it was that big of a deal.”  The Court asserted that the daughter practicing with a teammate knowing the teammate was injured was analogous to a cheerleader practicing without a mat or an athlete playing on a field that is in less than perfect condition.  Therefore, the Court held that the action was barred by the doctrine of assumption of risk.

(Photo by Adam Burke.  No changes made.)

Go Team!

November 15, 2012

Kristina D. v. Nesaquake Middle School (New York)
(A cheerleader was injured when she fell from a shoulder stand during practice; she sued the district, coach and others for her personal injuries; the trial court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on assumption of the risk, but the decision was reversed on appeal.)

The minor plaintiff was an experienced middle school cheerleader who was injured performing a “shoulder stand” during practice, a stunt she had performed many times in the past.  She filed a claim alleging that the school district and the coach acted negligently by, among other things, “failing to supervise the cheerleaders properly in performing the stunt.”  The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the claims were barred by assumption of the risk.  The motion was denied, and the defendants appealed.

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O-U-C-H . . . . What’s That Spell?

October 24, 2007

Krathen v. School Board of Monroe County (Florida)
(High School Cheerleader Injured During Practice; Waiver and Release Signed by Parent Enforced, Negligence Claims Barred)

A high school student injured during a cheerleading practice brought a negligence action against the school board. She alleged that the school board was negligent in the following respects: (1) by failing to adequately supervise the cheerleading practice; (2) by conducting the practice without adequate preparation; (3) by using inexperienced or untrained personnel to supervise the practice; (4) by failing to place protective mats on the floor so as to cushion the impact; (5) by conducting the practice without the coach being present; and (6) by failing to abide by or follow appropriate school board policies and/or procedures relating to extracurricular activities. The defendant school board filed a motion for summary judgment based upon the “Consent and Release of Liability Certificate” signed by the cheerleader and her parents prior to her participation. The trial court granted the motion, and the cheerleader appealed.

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Gimme a W-A-I-V-E-R . . . What’s that Spell?!

July 2, 2007

Jestes v. Cleveland County Board of Education (North Carolina)
(High School Cheerleader Injured During Practice and Sued School Board; School Board was Partially Immune Pursuant to Government Immunity Statutes, But Waived Immunity in Part By Procuring Excess Liability Insurance)

A cheerleader, who was injured while participating in a cheerleading practice, brought a lawsuit against the school board and its cheerleading coach. The school board filed a motion for summary judgment, citing government immunity barring actions against the state, its counties, and its public officials sued in their official capacity. The trial court denied the motion in part and granted it in part, finding that the board was immune up to a certain dollar value, but that the board had waived its immunity above that value by procuring excess liability insurance coverage. The board appealed the ruling.

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