Rick Righi and Chris Begeman achieved another favorable settlement representing the City of Mesa (City) in a premises liability action. A young girl and her parents sued the City and a youth sports league for negligence after the young girl was injured during a co-ed basketball game played in a City gymnasium. Plaintiff attempted to save the ball from going out of bounds when she tripped and fell and hit her head on a wall. Shortly before the incident, patrons had removed the padding from the wall where Plaintiff hit her head. Plaintiff lost consciousness and was transported to the hospital. She was diagnosed with a concussion and symptomatic pulmonary contusion; a CT scan also suggested a Chiari type 1 tonsillar descent, which Plaintiff alleged became symptomatic as a result of the incident.
Plaintiff claimed that the City had a duty to provide padding on the wall, and that the absence of padding caused her to suffer a traumatic brain injury. Plaintiff also claimed permanency and pain and suffering. Plaintiff and her parents each claimed loss of consortium, and her parents claimed lost wages for the time they missed from work.
Rick and Chris denied liability on behalf of the City under four theories: (1) Padding was not required because a sufficient “buffer zone” existed between the baseline and the wall; (2) Padding had been installed and was on the wall when a City employee performed a walk-through less than ten minutes prior to the incident; (3) Plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by participating in the basketball game; and (4) The patrons’ removal of the padding and the opposing player bumping Plaintiff each constituted an intervening and superseding cause of Plaintiff’s injuries.
Plaintiffs’ original demand was $1.6 million from the City. During mediation, Plaintiffs demanded $750,000. The City ultimately settled with Plaintiffs for $27,500.