Gym Class Injury Case Survives Summary Judgment

In Anastasiya M. v New York City Bd. of Educ., decided December 4, 2013, the Appellate Division, Second Department reversed a summary judgment for defendant in a case arising from a gym-class injury.

Plaintiffs sued “after the infant plaintiff allegedly was injured during a school gym class when she fell while walking backwards in an accelerated manner.”

Defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, based on the student’s General Municipal Law § 50-h and deposition testimony. Plaintiff’s opposed, pointing to the student’s affidavit. The trial court granted defendants’ motion.

The law provides:

Schools have a duty to adequately supervise children in their charge, and will be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision. Although it is not an insurer of children’s safety, a school has a duty to exercise the same degree of care toward its students as would a reasonably prudent parent.

Here, plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to survive summary judgment:

[T]he infant plaintiff’s affidavit was sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition to their motion for summary judgment. At her deposition and in her affidavit, the infant plaintiff stated that on the day of the accident, she was experiencing “pain and instability” in her ankle, and that she made complaints concerning this condition to the teacher who was supervising the gym class. The infant plaintiff further averred that despite her complaints, the teacher nevertheless insisted that she continue to participate in the gym exercises and that, as a result, she thereafter fell and sustained injuries.