A teen recently brought charges against a trampoline park after suffering a severe spinal injury. The plaintiff, seventeen-year-old Seth Griffith, filed a personal injury lawsuit against JumpTime, an indoor trampoline park. The lawsuit was filed after the plaintiff was seriously injured after attempting a triple front flip into a pit filled with foam blocks.
Prior to the flip that led to the plaintiff’s injury, he had jumped into the large foam pit a few times. At one point, after completing a double front flip into the foam pit, an employee approached him and asked if he had ever done a double front flip before. When the plaintiff answered in the affirmative, the employee left him alone. Eventually, the plaintiff attempted to move on from double flips to triple. Upon his first attempt, he did not rotate far enough and landed on his head and neck, suffering a cervical dislocation and fracture.
The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that the trampoline parked caused his injury. The plaintiff asserted that because he was a minor, JumpTime had a duty to supervise him. The plaintiff also claimed that he had been intentionally landing the double front flips on his back in the pit because he did not want to land on his feet and risk hitting his head against his knees.
However, JumpTime’s written policy manual instructed its employees to enforce the rules outlined on the wall near the pit. The signs on the wall instructed users to land on their feet in the pit and explicitly stated that users were not to land on their head or stomach.
JumpTime moved for summary judgment claiming that there was no negligence, and that industry standards permitted landing a front flip into a foam pit on one’s feet, buttocks, or back, and that there was no evidence of causation. A summary judgment is entered by a court when it feels that no factual issues remain to be tried. The court granted JumpTime’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff failed to produce evidence of negligence and causation.
The plaintiff appealed the ruling. On appeal, the court, in attempting to determine whether the lower court erred in granting JumpTime’s motion for summary judgment, reviewed the summary judgment standard. The court reasoned that summary judgment is appropriate only if the evidence in the record and any admissions show that there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding the issues raised in the initial pleadings and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The appeals court found that the plaintiff did not tell anyone that he was going to attempt a triple flip, nor was evidence provided that JumpTime employees knew that he would attempt such a filp.
Therefore, because causation could not be proved, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
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