Football player's injury claim against school employee-coach is dismissed
Thaddeus Guyzik was badly hurt when he attempted to operate a sprinkler system that watered Linden High School's practice football field. He was told by an assistant football coach to initiate the sprinkling system and was struck by a spigot under pressure, suffering facial injuries and lost teeth. He could not make a claim against the school system, because of governmental immunity, so Guyzik's lawyers initated a claim against the coach, alleging grossly negligent instructions to the boys attempting to operate the sprinkler.
The boy's attorneys argued that the coach owed a duty to inspect the spigot and hose to assure they were connected before telling Guyzik that he could safely operate the water gun. The Court of Appeals pointed out that government actors are not liable for "ordinary negligence" and ruled that the trial judge was wrong in concluding that a jury might deem the coach's action to be "gross negligence." Guyzik's claim was dismissed as a matter of law because the coach, Jeffrey Krause, Sr., may have been negligent but he was not "reckless."