Appeals Court Sides with School District after Cheerleader Sues over Concussion

(Editor’s Note: What follows is a brief synopsis of one of several case summaries in Concussion Litigation Alert. For details on this summary and others, please subscribe at

A state appeals court affirmed a lower court’s ruling, dismissing the claim of a cheerleader, who suffered a concussion and then sued the school district for negligence. The doctrine of assumption of risk figured prominently in the decision.

The plaintiff Rachel started cheering in the eighth grade. That summer, prior to her ninth grade year, she decided that she wanted to try out for the cheerleading team. The court noted that the plaintiff participated in a camp in the summer of 2010, during which they practiced stunts and were allegedly warned of the dangers of stunts.

After school started, the cheerleading team practiced for about two and a half hours a day. The plaintiff was in the advanced stunting group, which was more experienced than the other groups. The team practiced stunts from mid-September 2010 to October 20, 2010- the day that the plaintiff sustained injuries while positioned as a base. The flyer came down too far to the right and fell on the plaintiff. Her elbow hit her between the eyes, causing a concussion.

The plaintiff filed a complaint against Linfield that included a first cause of action for negligence entitled Negligence/Recklessness, a second cause of action for promissory fraud, and a third cause of action for negligent misrepresentation.

The school countered with a motion for summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication, on the grounds that ….

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