Beverly Harsted (as Mother and Natural Guardian of Tiffany Harsted) v Prior Lake-Savage Independent School District 719 (2013) H&FLR 2014-51
Scott County District Court (Minnesota)
20 June 2013
Coram: Fahey J
Appearing for the Plaintiff: Martin Montilino
Appearing for the Defendants: Not represented
Catchwords: Minnesota – school sport – gymnastics – action by coach – back injury – damages – quantum
Facts: The 14 year old plaintiff (Tiffany Harsted) was a student at Prior Lake High School and part of its gymnastics team. During a gymnastics practice on 26 January 2011 she was lying on her stomach on the floor of a training venue with an icepack on her back. An assistant coach stepped on her back for reasons which were unclear. She experienced persistent pain after this incident which was eventually identified as a vertebral facet fracture (in addition to stress fractures which were attributed to repetitive trauma associated with gymnastics). The stress fractures recovered but the facet fracture did not fully heal. The evidence was that the plaintiff would continue to have back pain with activity. She was ultimately able to resume gymnastics.
The plaintiff sought compensation for her injury from the school. Damages were agreed with the operator of the school at $24,000.00 (inclusive of legal costs of $8,000.00). Application was made to the court for approval of an infant’s compromise.
Held: The Court’s records indicate that the compromise was approved, offering an insight into the damages considered appropriate for a blameless plaintiff with an injury of the type described.