On April 15, 2010, Louis U. Gasparini (Partner) obtained a defense verdict for the Solomon Schecter School of Westchester in a purported negligent supervision claim. The plaintiff, a JV softball player had alleged that her coach instructed that she pitch batting practice approximately twenty feet from home plate (half way between the pitching rubber and home plate). Two fellow softball players were called by the plaintiff as witnesses to her location. The plaintiff also claimed that her coach increased the risks of batting practice by instructing her to pitch from this distance without the use of a "L-Screen". During practice the plaintiff was struck in the eye with a batting softball. As to damages, the plaintiff alleged in discovery that she sustained an orbital blow-out fracture requiring surgery and medical hardware, and claimed that the plaintiff's eye has slightly sunk downward with a resulting nasal deformity.
We claimed that the plaintiff was pitching from the mound, and that a "L-Screen" (a safety device) would not be necessary under the circumstances, as no safety devices are necessary when a pitcher throws batting practice from the pitchers mound to simulate game time conditions. Testimony from a non-party spectator witness (who was there to pick up her daughter from practice) corroborated the coach's version that the plaintiff was on the mound at the time of the incident. It was argued to the jury that the injury was a risk regularly assumed by any softball player, and that there could be no liability on the part of the school.
Following deliberations, the jury unanimously concluded that the plaintiff had assumed the risk of batting practice voluntarily finding in favor of our client.
Ugell v. Solomon Schecter School of Westchester, (Supreme Court Rockland County, New York). Baumin & Kunkis, New York, NY for the plaintiff.
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