As Judge Sabatino writes in his opinion, it was a close game, with only 20 seconds left on the clock and, up by one goal, the Medford youth lacrosse player cradled the ball attempting to run out the clock. Along came an 11 year old opposing player, who struck the arm of the Medford player and, in the ensuing collision, both players fell to the ground. With play whistled dead, the Medford player was taken to the sideline, then eventually to the ER where he was diagnosed with a fracture significant enough to require open reduction and internal fixation. Incredibly, that check formulated the basis of a lawsuit filed against, among others, the opposing 11 year old lacrosse player.
Even in New Jersey, thankfully, logic sometimes prevails. The Appellate Division in a published opinion upheld the trial court’s dismissal of the lawsuit against the boy. In formulating its opinion, the court took judicial notice that children “will inevitably commit fouls in sporting activities out of inexperience, youthful exuberance, lack of self-discipline, clumsiness, immaturity, frustration, or some combination of those traits.” While I thought the judge was referring specifically to my son, he was actually citing to the 2014 Boys Lacrosse Youth Rule Book. As the court concluded, the prospect of a lawsuit should not crop up every time the referee calls a foul.
On behalf of all Soccer (and Lax) Moms, thank you Judge Sabatino.