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Kid hurt in gym class cannot sue becaues she "assumed the risk" of playing soccer

Heather Willford suffered a serious knee injury after she was kicked by Travis Thorington in gym class.  Her father, as her Guardian, filed a negligence claim, alleging that Travis had been guilty of negligence or gross negligence in injuring her.  The insurer for Thoringtons filed a motion to dismiss the claim, arguing that under the Ritchie-Gamester v. City of Berkley decision, Heather had "assumed the risk of injury" by participating in the gym class soccer game.  The lower court had rejected this defense, finding that since Travis was allegedly not involved in the game being played, Heather had not assumed the risk that he might hurt her. 

The Court of Appeals rejected Heather's argument and reversed the lower court's holding.  Finding no proof that Travis did not belong in the soccer game beyond Heather's initial impression, it dismissed Heather's injury claim.  It also rejected the lower court's decision that the jury would have to determine whether Travis was guilty of "reckless" misconduct or gross negligence:  the higher court ruled that being kicked and suffering a knee injury was a known risk of playing soccer, and therefore Heather could not pursue a claim for reckless behavior.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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