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Young woman injured in toboggan accident cannot sue the toboggan driver

Jennifer Smith sued Mallary Sattler, alleging that Sattler was negligent in steering the toboggan they were riding down a public sledding hill.  Smith suffered a fracture in her leg when the toboggan veered off course.  She was, presumably, looking to Sattler's homeowner's insurance to cover her medical expenses and perhaps pay something for pain and suffering.

The Court held that it was not enough to allege negligence by Sattler and that since the two young people were engaged in a recreational activity, Smith must prove "reckless misconduct" by the Defendant.  Under an area of "immunity" significantly expanded by Republican Justices during the past 15 years, the court held that by engaging in a recreational activity, Smith assumed the risk of ordinary negligence and injury and could only bring an action against a co-participant if she could prove more egregious misconduct. 

The Court also held that the case should be dismissed summarily, rather than after a jury's analysis, because Smith had presented no evidence that Sattler was "indifferent" to causing injury and therefore had created no material issue of fact for the jury to decide.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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