MG+M Partner Joshua Severit recently won summary judgment on all claims against his clients, a school district and coach, in a case filed by the family of a student who injured himself while lifting weights at a school fitness facility. The family alleged willful and wanton misconduct against the district and weight training coach for failure to properly supervise, instruct, and train students in weightlifting techniques to avoid injury.
MG+M successfully convinced the Franklin County, Illinois Circuit Court that a school district and its employees cannot be guilty of willful and wanton conduct without evidence of a prior injury from a specific weightlifting activity or knowledge which would have put the district and its employees on notice of a risk of serious harm associated with that activity. The Court’s decision tracks recent Illinois Supreme Court jurisprudence concerning willful and wanton cases against school districts. Illinois law requires Plaintiffs to present evidence of a course of action showing a deliberate intent to harm or an utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others to maintain a willful and wanton action against a defendant. In cases against school districts and its employees, without evidence of prior injuries, a plaintiff must establish that the specific activity at issue is generally associated with a risk of serious injury in order to put the district and its employees sufficiently on notice.
MG+M Partner Joshua Severit drafted the motion papers and presented oral argument via Zoom on behalf of the school district and coach. For more information on this win or the issues involved, please contact Joshua.