Archive for the ‘Skateboarding’ Category

Speed Wobble – Discovery Regarding Failure to Warn Allowed in Longboarding Death Case (VT)

November 5, 2015

Cernansky v. Lefebvre (Vermont)
(trial court disposition)

A college student was fatally injured while riding a longboard style of skateboard.  His estate brought a lawsuit against the roommate who lent him the board and the skateboard shop that sponsored the roommate as a longboard rider.  The complaint alleged wrongful death and negligent failure to warn the decedent about the dangers associated with the activity (the roommate did not provide the decedent with any safety instructions prior to taking the decedent longboarding).  The roommate filed a motion to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim, and the skateboard shop filed a motion to dismiss the action against it based on a lack of personal jurisdiction.

The United States District Court for the District of Vermont denied both motions.  First, the Court held that the estate’s complaint did state a claim against the roommate under Vermont law for negligent failure to warn.  The Court explained:

“. . . the Complaint alleges [the roommate] should have foreseen the potential for serious injury based upon his knowledge of long boarding. More specifically, [the roommate] allegedly should have foreseen that sending [the decedent], a first-time longboarder, down a hill without a helmet or instruction presented a risk of harm giving rise to a legal duty. Plaintiff claims that [the roommate] breached that duty.  ¶  The fact that the longboard was loaned to [the decedent] does not alter the negligence analysis. In the comparable context of negligent entrustment, the ‘theory requires a showing that the entruster knew or should have known some reason why entrusting the item to another was foolish or negligent.'”


Break a Leg

June 20, 2007

 Rachal v. O’Neil (Rhode Island)
(12 Year Old Breaks Leg at Skatepark; Statute of Limitations Tolled; Motion for Summary Judgment Procedurally Premature)

A 12 year old boy fractured his leg while dropping into a half pipe at an indoor skate park.  Nearly two years after the incident, the minor’s parents filed a lawsuit against the skate park and the property owner.  More than a year later, the parents sought to amend the complaint to add a corporate defendant and substitute an insurer for an individual defendant who had filed for bankruptcy.  The amended complaint also added two causes of action.  The motion to amend was denied based on the expiration of the statute of limitations despite a statute tolling the statute of limitation for a minor until the minor reaches the age of 18.  Alternatively, the court granted the defendants motion for summary judmgent based upon the doctrine of assumption of the risk.  The parents appealed those decisions.