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Teen loses on appeal negligence suit filed for softball injury

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A Wabash County YMCA proved it was entitled to summary judgment on a negligence claim filed by a 17-year-old teen injured while sliding into a base during a softball game on property owned by the YMCA, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

Taylor Thompson and her mother sued the YMCA alleging the organization was negligent and violated its duty to protect her because the condition of second base was “fixed as a rigid obstacle for participants to encounter while sliding into base and, thereby, posing a clear safety hazard,” according to her lawsuit. The teen claimed she suffered serious and permanent physical injury.

Thompson’s mother had signed a form before her daughter’s participation in the softball league that said she understands injuries can occur and won’t hold the YMCA or other parties responsible for injury or medical expenses incurred while participating in practice or playing in a game.

The YMCA sought to have the case dismissed, citing the form signed by Thompson’s mother. Thompson’s response argued “in the case of minors, a person claiming tort damages on behalf of the minor against another person has power to execute a release on the minor’s behalf, however, the release must be approved by the Court before being effective.”

The trial court denied YMCA’s motion, and on interlocutory appeal, the COA reversed in Wabash County Young Men's Christian Association, Inc. f/k/a Wabash Community Service v. Taylor M. Thompson, a minor, by next friends, Brian Thompson and Charlene Thompson, 85A05-1203-CT-138. Thompson relies on Indiana Code 29-3-9-7(b) to support her argument, but her reliance on this statute is misplaced, Judge Elaine Brown wrote. That statute governs probate law, which is not at issue.

The consent form is valid and it applies to Thompson’s injury because sliding into second base is an activity inherent in the nature of playing softball.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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