Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beware The Dredded "Sports Liability Consultant"

In Lizardo v. Board of Education of the City of New York, the plaintiff was injured in a "rundown" during a kickball game. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, a "rundown" is when the runner is caught between two bases and either of the opposing team's players who are guarding those bases can tag the runner out. Not one to give up easily, apparently the student caught in the rundown decided to "take out" the player with the ball by crashing into him and knocking him down. Of course, the player with the ball was injured and sued the School.

In affirming summary judgment to the School, the First Department questioned whether plaintiff's "Sports Liability Consultant" could be treated as an objective expert. Irrespective of how the "expert" should be treated, however, the Court found that his opinion that the children should have been reminded of the rules of kickball, or that the children should have been more closely supervised were unacceptable. I'm sure the Court did not intend to be funny when it observed that "[u]nlike formal league play, elementary school gym classes need not comport exactly with the games' formal rules," or that the teacher had no reason "to think that the students needed to be reminded that the game of kickball, which they had been playing for years, does not include full contact or tackling." Nevertheless, one cannot help but chuckle at the thought of a kickball league containing such veteran elementary school players.

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