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'Red Rover' Injury Lawsuit Settles for $15K

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on November 04, 2013 11:07 AM

A "Red Rover" injury lawsuit -- yes, involving that playground game in which you run through locked arms -- has settled for $15,000.

A California couple sued a school district after their child broke his leg playing the game "Red Rover" during an unsupervised gym class.

This past summer, the district paid the settlement to cover medical and attorney costs in the case, raising the question: What ever happened to breaking a bone at school and happily collecting classmates' signatures on a neon-colored cast?

Negligent Supervision Alleged

Since the students were unsupervised when they were playing the game of "Red Rover," the school could arguably have been liable for any resulting injuries under a theory of negligent supervision.

According to court documents, the injured student underwent X-rays and physical therapy to recover from the playground injury -- you know, the types of medical procedures every kid must undergo when they break a bone (or two) from falling off the monkey bars and so on.

Two years later, the student still allegedly suffers through some pain, reports San Diego's KNSD-TV.

A physical injury on school grounds due to a lack of supervision can often result in a plaintiff recovering medical expenses and attorney fees. A court can potentially also award a mandatory injunction -- ordering action to be taken, or a refrain from taking action -- such as the adoption of a "school activities" policy.

Frivolous Lawsuit?

In general, suing a school district is no small feat. Parents have to jump through several administrative hoops in a complex legal process. The school district in this case radically shortened the process by opting to settle.

A number of students' parents told KNSD-TV the "Red Rover" lawsuit is outlandish and only something crazy helicopter parents would bring. They also believe $15,000 is an unfair windfall that covers more than medical expenses and legal fees.

But school officials probably recognized this lawsuit wasn't entirely without merit because the children were unsupervised when the injury occurred.

Either way, the settlement is ensuring this is the first and last time the district will "run into" a situation like this: In accordance with the settlement, Red Rover is officially banned from the school, KNSD reports.

First banning tag, now this. Who knows, maybe a laughter ban will soon follow or a new policy requiring the mandatory bubble-wrapping of students. After all, $15,000 could certainly buy a whole lot of protective bubble wrap...

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