Polk County Jury Returns Favorable Verdict for University and its Coaches08/24/2018
FSM partner Nick Hillyard earned a favorable verdict in Polk County, Missouri, for his clients on August 22, 2018. Plaintiff, a former member of Southwest Baptist University’s track and field squad, brought an action against FSM clients the University and two of its coaches alleging they were negligent leading to her knee injuries during two practices. In the first November 2014 practice, plaintiff injured her right knee while training for long jump indoors with one coach. She claimed that she was injured because she was jumping on a wooden gym floor and dust on the gym floor caused her to slip after planting her foot to jump. Defendants denied any dust or slippery condition on the floor. They asserted that training under such conditions is a safe common practice and plaintiff hyperextended her knee due to improper form and the inherent risks of the sport that had been assumed by plaintiff. The jury found neither plaintiff nor defendants at fault for that injury and awarded her no damages. In the second April 2016 practice, plaintiff injured her left knee while training for long jump outdoors with the other coach. She claimed that she was injured because she slipped on water on the long jump board after being pressured to jump. Defendants asserted that plaintiff was only provided with encouragement and denied that there was any water on the long jump board. Regardless, they further asserted that training and competing in wet conditions is a safe common practice and plaintiff hyperextended her knee due to improper form and the inherent risks of the sport that had been assumed by plaintiff. The jury found plaintiff 75 percent and defendants only 25 percent at fault for that accident and awarded plaintiff damages of $75,000. Before trial, plaintiff’s final settlement demand was for $257,000.