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School Liability – Alleged negligent supervision during basketball shooting match involving parents, teachers and students – Plaintiff father contends he is knocked to court by student – Two to three minutes later teacher lands on his leg after dunking – Ruptured patella tendon – Liability only.

Suffolk County, NY

The plaintiff, the father of a middle school student, had accompanied his son to the event that culminates "School spirit week," and which entailed competitions among parents, students and teachers. The subject activity involved a line of four groups, including seventh and eighth graders, parents and teachers. The members of the group would take shots and when successful, the next person would make an attempt. The first line of players to finish won.

The plaintiff contended that as he was attempting a shot, another student inadvertently struck him from behind, resulting in his falling to the court. The plaintiff indicated that he did not suffer injury at this time. The plaintiff maintained that he was left on the floor for several minutes and that a teacher then "dunked" the basketball and landed on his leg, causing injury.

The defendant denied that the plaintiff’s version was accurate. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff appeared to land awkwardly on his leg after attempting a shot and was in immediate severe pain. The defendant also contended that no one came into contact with the plaintiff or landed on his leg after he was initially injured.The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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