Appellate Division, Fourth Department – Assumption of Risk – Sports – Cheerleading – Injured Teammate
Jurgensen v. Webster Central School District
Appealed from Supreme Court, Monroe County
Background: The plaintiff, as a parent of his daughter, commenced an action seeking damages for injuries his daughter sustained during a varsity cheerleading practice. She was injured when she was thrown in the air during a routine. She claimed to experience intense pain during the second performance of the routine. The plaintiff alleged that one of the cheerleaders had an injured ankle and, when she caught the daughter the first time, the injured cheerleader twisted incorrectly causing injury to the daughter’s knee. The defendant moved for summary judgment arguing the daughter assumed the risk and it was denied.
Ruling: The Appellate Division reversed. The court held that it is well settled that by engaging in a sport or recreational activity, a participant consents to those commonly anticipated risks that are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport generally and flow from such participation. The plaintiff acknowledges that his daughter assumed the risks. The daughter was aware of the injured ankle and is analogous to practicing without a mat.
Christine Gasser of Congdon, Flaherty, O’Callaghan, Reid, Donlon, Travis & Fishlinger for the defendant-appellant; Michael Steinberg of The Palmiere Law Firm for the plaintiff-respondent