Court refuses to grant school attorney's fees after dismissing gym class injury case
In Williford v. Thorington, the Court of Appeals dismissed a young girl's injury claim after she suffered injury when another youngster joined in a gym class soccer game and fractured her femur. The Court held that the Michigan Supreme Court's decision in Richie-Gamester required the girl to prove "gross negligence" rather than mere negligence [lack of due care] when an injury results during "participation" in a recreational activity. The School system's insurer then sought attorney's fees against the child's mother. The Court of Appeals rejected this request, pointing out that the applicaction of Richie-Gamester to a child participating in gym class was an issue of first impression. The Court also pointed out that there was a substantial question of public policy with regard to whether the same additional protection from suit should apply to a child participating in recreational activities when participation is mandated by a school which the child is required to attend.