Thursday, January 16, 2014

Little League Helmet Toss Lawsuit Will Strikeout!

If you fertilize your lawn correctly, you'll have a nice lawn with virtually no weeds. But occasionally a few will pop up despite your best efforts and hard work.

And so it is with the latest example of the occasional, goofball lawsuit that rears its ugly head like that patch of crabgrass on your lawn. This time, a little league coach in California is actually suing a 14 year old kid he coached for over half a million because the kid threw his helmet in celebration after a game and struck the coach in the back of his leg, shattering his achilles tendon.

Bad injury, no doubt. But this lawsuit is a major strikeout for a number of reasons and will eventually be thrown out at 2nd base or hopefully sooner. There are plenty of "legal arguments" for tossing this suit. First, there may be an argument that the coach assumed the risk of injury. Second, he's suing a 14 year old kid, and the standards for holding a minor liable for injury are more stringent than if he were an adult, at least in Ohio where I practice.

Legalities aside, this case screams out as being a loser for a number of practical reasons. Even if it goes to a trial (which I predict it won't), the overwhelming sympathies lie with this poor kid. It's generally not a good idea for a coach to sue a kid-player on his own team.  Second, as an aside, the coach is a chiropractor, and all the negative publicity he is getting is bound to be awful for his business.

In fact, I can think of nothing good that will come out of this lawsuit---unless you're The Chamber Of Commerce and its militant wing, "The Institute For Legal Reform." This group is famous for scouring the legal universe to find a handful of zany lawsuits like this, only to prop it up with its PR machine, and declare that our legal system is broken and in need of "reforms"--that coincidentally favor big business and insurance companies even when  legitimately injured folks bring meritorious lawsuits.

We who investigate and pursue personal injury lawsuits can do nothing about these outlier lawsuits. And we can't stop The Institute For Legal Reform's massive PR machine. But we can speak out against crap like this, and let people know that these lawsuits are truly like the unsightly weed on your manicured lawn.

The solution is to get rid of the weeds, not the lawn.....


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