Cheerleader Assumed Risk of Injury

The Fourth Department’s recent February 2009 decision in Williams v. Clinton Central School District, upholds New York’s long-standing assumption of risk doctrine. In this case, Williams, a high school senior, commenced suit against her school district for injuries sustained while performing a cheerleading stunt. She alleged that the school unreasonably increased the risk of injury by failing to provide a matted surface during practice. In upholding the dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint, the Fourth Department held that although the school district was under a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect student athletes, the risk of performing cheerleading stunts on a non-matted surface was open, obvious, and inherent in plaintiff’s participation in the activity.

Thanks to Lora Gleicher for her contribution to this post.