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College Crosse Barrister Hour: Florida Lacrosse Concussion Lawsuit

Let's get our legal briefs on and examine this case.

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Earlier I tweeted out the above Good Morning America clip (Ed. Note: Shout out to College Crosse's favorite daytime anchor, @RobinRoberts!) about a lawsuit filed by the family of East River lacrosse defender Kendalle Holley in Florida. The case has gotten a lot of attention today and I thought it would be good move to explore it a bit more.

Location.

The suit was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Orange County, in Orlando, Florida.

Court Documents.

You can find the complaint and all the initial court filings here by searching under the case number (2016-CA-003602-O) on Florida's MyEClerk site. The complaint is only 10 pages long and it's free to search & read the documents.

What kind of case is this?

This is a negligence case. Negligence basically means that a person had a duty to act or not act in a certain situation, that person failed to perform that duty, a reasonable person would have performed the duty, and damages arose from that failure.

Parties.

  • Plaintiff: Kendalle Holley, and her parents, David and Aimee Holley.
  • Defendants: Orange County, Florida High School Athletic Association, and Ellie Yenor.
    (Ed. Note:
    The school district is not named in the lawsuit. )
Plaintiff's Facts.
  • Plaintiff claims that on February 25, 2015, Kendalle Holley was struck in the head by Ellie Yenor's lacrosse stick during a game at East River High School.
  • Plaintiff claims that Kendalle Holley suffered a traumatic brain injury from the blow to the head.
  • Plaintiff claims that "None of the referees, coaches or trainers present performed any evaluation of Kendalle Holley to determine if she had suffered injury including concussion" and that she was allowed to continue playing, which exacerbated her injuries. (Pg. 3 of the Complaint, Paragraphs 13-16.)
Counts.
There are seven counts in the complaint, three against Orange County, three against the Florida High School Athletic Association, and one against Ellie Yenor. The counts are all based on negligence or vicarious liability (Ed. Note: Vicarious liability basically means, suing another party for the actions of their employees or agents.)

The count against Ellie Yenor was based on Plaintiff's claims that "the rules in women’s high school lacrosse provide for a 'halo around the cranium' designed to prevent head injuries" and that Ellie negligently hit Kendalle during the course of the game. (Pg. 9 of the Complaint, Paragraph 48.)

Damages.
Plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

Response time.
The complaint was filed on April 26, 2016. Florida law states you have a 20 days from the day you are served to respond to a complaint or a default can be entered against you. A default basically means you forfeited and the plaintiff wins on all it's claims.
It should be noted that "from the day you are served" doesn't mean when the case was filed but when a defendant has notice of the claims. So the 20-day clock doesn't start running until the Defendants actual get "served" with the complaint.

Additional links about the case.