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COA reverses summary judgment for NCAA on negligence claim

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A woman who was injured at a fencing event at the University of Notre Dame should have been granted more time to present relevant materials in opposition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s motion for summary judgment on her negligence claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Lydia Lanni was struck in the left eye by a fencing saber, causing a severe injury, while she was at an allegedly NCAA-sanctioned fencing match at Notre Dame. The NCAA denies that it was involved with the match. She sued alleging negligence by the NCAA. It filed a motion to dismiss and/or motion for summary judgment. The NCAA attached the affidavit of Kelly Whitaker Shaul, the NCAA’s fencing championships manager, to its motion.

Lanni sought an extension to respond to the NCAA’s motion, arguing discovery was still ongoing. The trial court granted the NCAA’s motion to stay discovery pending the ruling on the motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted the NCAA’s motion for summary judgment.

Lanni argued that she hadn’t received any notice that the trial court would treat the combined motion as a summary judgment motion and that she had a lack of opportunity to conduct discovery.

In Lydia Lanni v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., 49A05-1208-CT-392, the judges found that the trial court’s treatment of the NCAA’s motion for summary judgment was proper because evidence outside the pleading was presented and not excluded by the trial court. But, the conversion from a Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motion to a Trial Rule 56 motion requires the trial court to give all parties reasonable opportunity to present all pertinent material.

The NCAA argued that Lanni’s discovery requests were nothing more than generic form requests, but the “NCAA’s self-serving interpretation of what issues are ‘material’ to the cause should not be prevailing,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote. “Here, the NCAA’s motions, granted by the trial court, effectively prevented Lanni from conducting any discovery, let alone any reasonable discovery.”

The judges also found the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Lanni’s request to strike Shaul’s affidavit. White it might contain some generalized statements, they are nevertheless credible and clearly based on personal knowledge stemming from the position she holds, and as such are admissible evidence.

The case is remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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