Plaintiff Nicholas Brown, a student-athlete at Union Mine High School in El Dorado, sued the El Dorado Union High School District after he suffered a head injury playing in a high-school football game. He claimed that the District failed to provide him with sufficient information about the risks of head injury, failed to monitor him for potential head injury during the game, allowed him to play for too many consecutive downs, and provided him with inadequate medical care after his injury became apparent.
The trial court granted summary judgment for the District based on a release signed by Brown and his father before the football season began as well as under the primary assumption of risk doctrine, which bars recovery for injuries arising from the inherent risks of sports. Brown appealed and Horvitz & Levy was retained to represent the District.
Horvitz & Levy persuaded the Third District Court of Appeal to affirm in a published opinion. First, the court held that the trial court properly granted summary judgment in spite of formatting issues with the defense’s separate statement of undisputed material facts. Second, the court rejected Brown’s challenges to the trial court’s evidentiary rulings. Third, the court held that the release signed by Brown and his father was enforceable and that it covered Brown’s injury. Finally, the court held that there were no triable issues of material fact regarding gross negligence, which could render the release unenforceable, because the District and its coaches undertook a variety of safety measures.