Student hurt in gym class survives motion to dismiss

Long v. Massapequa Union Free School District


New York Law Journal

November 10, 2011
Justice Ute Wolff Lally

Long, a student, sought to recover money damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained due to the school district's negligence. Long was participating in a gym class in an activity called "islands," the goal being to cross from island to island using various equipment, including a scooter. The district claimed the "cooperative game" was designed to teach students to work together, not as a race. Yet Long claimed students were yelling at him to get off the scooter when it did not go where it was supposed to, resulting in his injury, because the class treated the activity as if it was a race. The court stated that generally, by engaging in a sport, a participant consented to the inherent risks of it. However, it also noted even where the risk of an activity is assumed, schools and their agents must exercise ordinarily reasonable care to protect students from unassumed, concealed or unreasonable risks. The court found that a triable issue of fact exists as to whether the district discharged its duty to provide adequate supervision and if a breach of that duty unreasonably increased Long's risk of injury. As such, the court denied the district's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

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