Appellate Division Holds School Breached No Duty to Student Injured in Basketball Game

Jun 27, 2019

In a case involving a personal injury claim by a student as a result of a faculty/student basketball game, the Appellate Division recently held that plaintiff’s claim was properly dismissed by the trial Court because the school did not breach a duty to the student and the teacher did not act recklessly in causing injury to the student during the game.  C.H. v. Rahway Board of Education, et. al., - N.J. Super. – (App. Div. 2019).

Plaintiff, C.H., was injured while playing in the student/teacher fundraising basketball game when she went up for a rebound and made contact with a teacher.  She injured her knee and filed a suit.

Her case was dismissed by the trial Court and the Appellate Division affirmed.

The Appellate Division acknowledged that school’s officials have a duty to supervise the children in their care.  The supervisory duty extends to foreseeable dangers that arise from the careless acts or intentional transgressions of others.

The Court held that as a matter of law there was no showing of a breach of that duty by the defendant. The basketball game was officiated by a referee and additional supervision was provided by approximately five teachers who did not participate in the game.

Secondly, the duty of care applicable to participants in informal recreational sports is to avoid the infliction of injury caused by reckless or intentional conduct.  Plaintiff conceded that the teacher was not trying to intentionally injure her and the Court held that there were no facts showing that the teacher acted recklessly when he jumped up for a rebound.  As such, the Appellate Division upheld the dismissal of plaintiff’s claim on both grounds.