Tag Archives: negligence

Appeals Court Affirms that University Owed No Duty to Concussed Cheerleader

(Editor’s Note: What follows is a summary of a decision involving a cheerleader and a concussion she suffered. To see the full story, subscribe to Concussion Litigation Reporter at this link – http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A state court judge in Pennsylvania affirmed a ruling that university should not be held liable for a concussion that a college cheerleader suffered in a training camp that was required by university.

The judge reasoned that the cheerleader failed to show that the university breached a duty regarding stunt instruction and supervision at the camp, which was conducted by Universal Cheerleader Association (UCA) at another university.

In 2010, the plaintiff was an incoming freshman at the university, where she was selected as a member of the university’s cheerleading squad coached by the head coach. Prior to starting college, she attended a pre-camp for the cheerleaders run by the coach. The cheerleaders, including the coach, then attended a mandatory camp at the other university conducted by UCA.

On August 12, 2010, while at the UCA camp, the plaintiff and three other cheerleaders were practicing a new stunt called a rewind. Three individuals at the base were to propel her upward, she would perform a tuck in the air, and the base would catch her. The UCA instructors demonstrated the stunt one or two times, breaking it down into steps, according to the plaintiff. On the first attempt, the base caught the plaintiff, but she did not fully complete the stunt. She was not sure whether her coach was present for that attempt but, she did not expect her to be there observing her group. Prior to the next attempt, she asked for more spotters in addition to the UCA instructor, and UCA brought in two cheerleaders to spot. This time, the plaintiff landed on top of her bases. While they caught her body, the back of her head hit the floor. She sustained a closed head injury, concussion, cervical strain and sprain, impaired vision in her right eye, and injuries to her jaw and neck.

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Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. Sacked in Waiver/Release Decision of Interest

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the January issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To see the full article, subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

By Carla Varriale, of Havkins, Rosenfeld, Ritzert and Varriale

In a case that is of keen interest to youth sports, a California court denied recent motions by Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc. (“PWLS”) and other defendants seeking dismissal of the claims against them. In Crystal Dixon, et al v. Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., the plaintiffs’ Third Amended Complaint put forth claims for negligence, respondeat superior and violations of California’s Business and Professional Code, among others. The Third Amended Complaint also contained a claim for punitive damages. The motions for adjudication of issues were denied in part because of lingering questions about the failure to coach the injured plaintiff in proper tackling technique and whether there was a conscious disregard for his safety based on the evidence presented.  The Third Amended Complaint alleged that the injured plaintiff was rendered a quadriplegic after he attempted to tackle an opposing player using an improper head-first tackling technique which he claimed his coaches taught and instructed him to use.file000785928607

The decision is instructive for two reasons.

First, the “Parental/Guardian Permission and Waiver Agreement” (the “Waiver and Release”) failed to protect PWLS under the circumstances although it was clear, unambiguous and specifically referenced the risk of injury at issue in the Dixon case.

The Waiver and Release stated:

INTENT TO INFORM
I acknowledge that I am fully aware of the potential dangers of participation in any sport and I fully understand that participation in football, cheerleading and/or dance, and related activities may result on SERIOUS INJURIES, PARALYSIS, PERMANANET [sic] DISABILITY AND/OR DEATH to myself, my children, and/or entire family. Further, I do hereby forever discharge, waive, release, absolve, indemnify, and agree to hold harmless Pop Warner, and any and all organizers, sponsors, supervisors, administrators, officers, directors, staff, referees, participants, and persons transporting the above named participant to and from activities, from any claim arising out of any injury to myself and/or my/our child whether the result of negligence or any other cause…” (“Compendium of Exhibits,” Exhibit “D;” emphasis theirs).

The court acknowledged that under California law, to be enforceable a putative waiver or release must clearly apprise the releasor or indemnitor of the effect of the release or waiver. In fact, every possible specific act of negligence of the defendant need not be spelled out in the agreement or even discussed by the parties. It is only necessary that the act of negligence, which results in injury to the releasor, be reasonably related to the object or purpose for which the release is given.

Based on the language cited above, there was … (for the full summary, visit http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/ to subscribe)

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Former College Football Player Sues University and Individual Defendants for Negligence

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the September issues of Concussion Litigation Report. For the full story, please subscribe at  http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A former football player for the University of California, Berkeley has sued the school and several of its employees, including former football coach Jeff Tedford, for negligence in connection with the concussions sub-concussive hits he suffered during games and practices as a Golden Bear.

Bernard Hicks, who played 34 games for UC Berkeley from 2004 to 2008, alleged in his complaint that he not only “sustained multiple concussions as a result of hits to his head,” but also “sustained multiple sub-concussive injuries to his head.” This, the safety claimed, left him with “permanent and debilitating neurological injuries.”

Hicks invoked a specific government code in his complaint, which provides …

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