Kansas Jury Awards Nominal Damages for FSM Client YMC05/12/2022
In May 2022, a Finney County, Kansas jury awarded nominal damages in their verdict against the Garden City Family YMCA in western Kansas. The case arose out of an injury sustained by a 4-year-old while attending a fundraiser put on by a local gymnastics company in 2016. The minor child’s injuries required them to be airlifted and also required an external fixation to heal the fractured arm sustained in the accident. After filing suit, Plaintiffs sought over $400,000 in damages. Franke, Schultz, and Mullen attorneys argued at trial that comparative fault applied stating the blame for the fractured arm sustained by the minor rested with their mother for her failure to supervise her child adequately and the gym which was throwing the fundraiser. The jury agreed with the comparative fault analysis and assessed only 15% of fault to the YMCA. In their verdict, the jury initially only awarded $7,500 in economic damages for the medical bills. Despite there being two judges in the courtroom along with Plaintiff’s counsel, only attorneys for Franke, Schultz, and Mullen caught that the award for just non-economic damages was an inconsistent verdict under Kansas law, and that non-economic damages had to be awarded as well. The trial judge ordered the jury change their verdict to also include non-economic damages. After re-deliberating, the jury awarded $100 in total non-economic damages resulting in only $1,140 being assessed against the YMCA. The case was defended by Franke, Schultz, and Mullen partners Danielle Uzelac and Derek Johannsen.