Westchester Team Obtains Summary Judgment and Dismissal of College Cheerleader’s Lawsuit Against a Northeast College and Coach

December 2022

Donald Derrico, Managing Partner of the Westchester and Buffalo offices, and Westchester partner Julia Braun obtained summary judgment and dismissal of a college cheerleader’s lawsuit against a Northeast college and the cheerleading coach. 
The plaintiff, a member of the college’s cheerleading squad, alleged that she sustained an acute subdural hematoma requiring immediate craniotomy and fractured vertebrae when she fell during a cheerleading exhibition. The plaintiff alleged that the firm’s client negligently supervised the exhibition, failed to warn her of the risk of injury, and failed to properly utilize and follow appropriate protocols. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff alleged to have sustained a traumatic brain injury, loss of memory, cognitive dysfunction, employment impairment, and lifetime medical treatment at a tremendous cost. The demand was 15 million dollars.

Derrico and Braun received this assignment from the college’s carrier after the matter failed to settle at mediation. When discovery concluded, the Westchester team moved for summary judgment. It argued that the plaintiff assumed the risk of suffering a head injury considering her extensive experience as a cheerleader and her awareness that injuries can occur during cheerleading. In addition, the team submitted an affidavit from a Professor in Exercise Science. Finally, it took the non-party depositions of the cheerleading squad and spectators that supported their position that the exhibition was adequately supervised, the stunt was common, and the plaintiff was warned of all risks. 

The court agreed with the Westchester team’s arguments and held plaintiff failed to create an issue of fact and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint against our clients.