No Safety Equipment Provided, No Assumption of Risk

In Charles v. Uniondale School District, the plaintiff, a high school lacrosse player, was struck by a passed ball during pre-season lacrosse practice.  Because it was pre-season the plaintiff had not yet been provided with a helmet and facemask.

Under New York law, it is well established that a participant engaging in a sporting or recreational activity consents to commonly appreciated risks that are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport.  Such participants may be held to have consented to such risk by their participation in the injury-causing event that is an apparent or reasonably foreseeable consequence.

Based on the above, the school district moved for summary judgment, but the Supreme Court, Nassau County denied the motion holding that although being struck with a passed ball is a known risk inherent in the sport of lacrosse, there was a question of fact as to whether the school district increased the risk of harm by failing to provide the plaintiff with head and face protection during practice.  The Appellate Division Second Department affirmed the lower court’s decision.

Thanks to Ed Lomena for his contribution to this post.

If you would like more information about this post, please contact Nicole Brown at nbrown@wcmlaw.com.

 http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_00479.htm