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CONFIDENTIAL - Negligence at sports camp - Failure to secure equipment which falls and injures plaintiff - Transverse amputation of ring finger of dominant hand.

Barnstable County, MA

The minor plaintiff contended that the defendant basketball camp and the defendant lacrosse camp were negligent because they knew or should have known that a piece of basketball equipment created an attractive nuisance accessible to camp attendees, and neither defendant secured the equipment. The defendant lacrosse camp claimed that it was not responsible for the basketball equipment. The defendant basketball camp claimed that it left the equipment folded up and that someone else set up the equipment without the defendant’s knowledge.

The plaintiff was an ll year old boy attending a lacrosse camp at Cape Cod Community College. The camp used a hard court area with a back wall as the gathering area for campers each morning. On the second day of camp the plaintiff and his father were on the hard court and the plaintiff was throwing a lacrosse ball against the wall. There was a portable basketball hoop in a semi standing position in the middle of the court. The plaintiff approached the hoop and did an imaginary dunk whereupon the whole backboard came down on him and landed on his finger. The plaintiff brought suit against the first defendant "Hoop Group" basketball camp, claiming it negligently left the hoop in a position where it appeared to be upright and secure and created a hazard to campers that ultimately severely injured the plaintiff.

The first defendant brought in the second defendant lacrosse camp. The court disallowed the plaintiff from joining the suits, and each settled separately. The plaintiff’s claim against the first defendant was that the defendant basketball camp negligently allowed an attractive nuisance by leaving the basketball net in a condition where it was not ballasted or secured but looked usable to the casual observer. The plaintiff asserted that the defendant did not adequately secure the equipment the night before when it knew or should have known that children would be around and might use the equipment. As to the second defendant lacrosse camp, the plaintiff contended that the defendant knew that the basketball hoop was up as of the end of practice the day before and did not secure or have the college secure the equipment nor did the defendant alert parents to keep children away from the equipment.

As a result of the accident the plaintiff sustained a transverse amputation of the ring finger on his dominant right hand. The plaintiff underwent reattachment surgery but suffers loss of motion and scarring of the finger and he cannot make a fully closed fist.

The first defendant denied leaving the hoop in an upright position. The defendant basketball camp claimed that it left the hoop folded up on the side of court and that the college was to set up and ballast the hoop for camp commencing two weeks later. The defendant basketball camp put forth that it was not responsible, asserting that someone from the lacrosse camp must have taken the folded-up hoop and moved it to the center of the court where it became a hazard. The defendant lacrosse camp denied negligence or responsibility.

The plaintiff settled with both defendants via mediation for a confidential amount.

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