Would be get sue or be arrest if you hurt your opponent??

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by tyu1314, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. tyu1314

    tyu1314 Semi-Pro

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    I am just wondering is it a crime if you hurt your opponent really bad with tennis shot ? Like a big smash into him at the net, are they able to call the cop on you?
     
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  2. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Ask Lendl's opponents......
     
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  3. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Fearsome Forehand would be the main person that I would think could answer a question like this.

    I would also say, that I don't think it would be a "crime", as in a crime you could be arrested for.

    At most, in the US (because we sue for everything), I could see someone attempting to file a lawsuit for medical bills or something, but I think when you step on a tennis court to play a match, you "assume the risk" that you could be hit by a correctly struck or errantly struck tennis shot.

    There would be more of a case if you were on another court, and a player from the adjacent court got mad and negligently fired a smash that hit you or something like that. But in the normal course of the match, my thought would be no.
     
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  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I would suggest you try it and see what happens
     
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  5. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    Just as in the case of a hockey player who was prosecuted in Canada for hitting another player over the head, the issue is intent. Hitting a shot at another player is indeed part of the game and would not ordinarily carry any liability, criminal or civil. However, if you had said "I'm gonna hurt you" or given any other indication just before doing it that your wish was to cause injury or pain, you could be arrested, sued, or both.
     
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  6. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    You are talking two different types of law: civil and criminal

    There's a general acceptance of risk when playing a sport that players inherently assume. All you would need to prove is that there was no malicious intent to damage the other person.

    As far as criminal goes, if a person knowingly and intentionally aims at and strikes a person with a ball, racquet, etc it could be interpreted as assault (the threat) and battery (the striking). That is the discretion of the executive powers to be (police/DA) on what they think the judicial process would determine.

    As far as civil goes, you'd want to consult with your insurance agent. Intentional acts are generally not insured under a liability policy (homeowner, renter, umbrella). The plaintiff in a suit for intentional damages could ultimately sue you directly and you'd need to defend yourself and pay damages out of your own assets.

    However, accidental damages caused in a tort against a claiming party are covered by insurance. Again, the plaintiff would have to explain how they "assumed the risk" of playing a sport within the rules and even by doing so were damaged by the defendant. Chances are, your insurance company would opt to settle with the claimant for a nominal amount to avoid litigation against you and the possibility of punitive (punishment) damages, which most liability carriers don't cover.

    Nutshell, I don't think either would happen in the normal course of events of a tennis match/practice. Just ask yourself, "what would a jury of 6-12 of normal adults believe?" That would be your answer. It's America. Legislative, Judicial, executive checks and balances.
     
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  7. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    This makes me want to do a Lexis search for "tennis court injury" but I'm too lazy, maybe some law student out there can find some case law for us.
     
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  8. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Solano v. Abrenica, 69 Cal. App. 4th 997

    OVERVIEW: Plaintiff and defendant, teammates in a tennis organization, were on the same side of the net in a practice session with two other teammates. When the team captain ended the session, the participants stopped playing, and plaintiff began to leave the tennis court by walking alongside the net. However, defendant made one more serve and the ball struck plaintiff in the eye, causing injuries. Plaintiff sued defendant, and the trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the court held that because plaintiff was no longer participating in the game at the time she was struck by the tennis ball, she did not assume the risks of being a tennis participant, and defendant was not entitled to the defense of primary assumption of risk. Thus, there were questions of material fact on defendant's duty to plaintiff as a non-participant of the game and whether or not defendant's conduct was reckless. Therefore, the court reversed the order.

    OUTCOME: The court reversed the order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claim for injuries after being struck by a tennis ball served by defendant, plaintiff's teammate, at the end of a practice session, because plaintiff's assumption of the risks inherent in tennis ended when the practice session ended, and a jury could find that defendant acted recklessly. Thus, summary judgment was inappropriate.
     
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  9. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    DUC LE v. SAM, 2005 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9182

    Plaintiff Duc Le appeals a judgment following a defense verdict in his personal injury action against defendant Henry Sam. Le suffered an eye injury during a doubles tennis match when Sam, his doubles partner, served a ball that hit Le. On appeal, Le contends the trial court erred by: (1) concluding the primary assumption of risk doctrine applied and therefore not instructing on general negligence principles; (2) refusing to give special jury instructions Le requested; and (3) limiting the scope of testimony by his expert witness; and (4) awarding Sam costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 998.

    Affirmed
     
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  10. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ny-civil-court/1307416.html

    This one is interesting, player goes to a drill session organized by the USTA at Flushing Meadows and gets hit in the eye. She sues, the USTA moves for summary judgement and dismissal and the court denies the motion ! Good discussion of the assumption of risk doctrine. I wonder whatever happened, probably the USTA settled with the plaintiff.
     
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  11. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    My firm only pays for California cases in Lexis, so I'm sure there are more out there. The first one I cited isn't really the same fact pattern, but I'm surprised that the summary judgment was reversed.

    The second one is unpublished, so it's hard to tell what the full facts were, but it sounds pretty close (except it was his own doubles partner that hit him).
     
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  12. jjaded

    jjaded New User

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    If the match was over, the assumption of risk should have ended. This strikes me as the same analysis in Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals, Inc. 601 F.2d 516 (10th Cir. 1979), in which a football player punches another in the back of the head fracturing his neck, a violation of the rules, the plaintiff did not assume he risk. In contrast, the OPs hypo about pulling a Lendl and driving a ball hard at an opponent at the net seems to be the exact risk assumed by playing tennis (that a valid return strikes a player).
     
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  13. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    I don't think that's the same analysis though. The issue in the tennis one is that the practice session ended. The issue in the football game was dealing with a violation of the rules that extended the risk beyond what should be assumed, right? One was accidental, one was deliberate.
     
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  14. jjaded

    jjaded New User

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    In the football case the trial found the defendant lacked specific intent to injure. All of these must be analyzed under whether or not the plaintiff consented. I think whether the injury was caused by a negligent, reckless, or intentional act only matters in so far to what was consented.

    After a practice is over there is no longer any consent to be exposed to the risks of serving (certainly a reasonable jury could conclude that after the practice ended the plaintiff no longer consented to the risk of neglegently/recklessly hit tennis balls their way).
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Plaintiff is very lucky I wasn't the judge.

    If you are on a tennis court walking by the net, you are assuming the risk that someone serving a tennis ball will hit you in the eye. If you don't wish to assume that risk, walk along the back curtain.

    Sheez.
     
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  16. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    This is why it can be fun to show up for jury duty!
     
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  17. tamdoankc

    tamdoankc Rookie

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    Waiting for the day it happens where the plaintiff sues not only the player but also the ball, racket, string, and shoe manufacturer.
     
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  18. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    Depends on the quality of counsel available to the respective parties.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You don't even follow what happened, and yet you are making sarcastic comments. It sure feels good to laugh at "frivolous" lawsuits and the suffering of other people - till it happens to you. It gives people a kind of perverse pleasure and an opportunity to lecture others on morals and responsibility.

    The game/session had ended. When a game ends, people shake hands and exit from near the net, not by walking along the back of the court. Then this player picks up a ball and serves (why???) and hits the person.

    It is the same situation if you were spinning rackets or tossing, and somebody quickly picks up the ball and serves and hurts you. You certainly don't take on the risk of deliberate predatory activities before and after play when you decide to play tennis.
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I need to be careful about something from now on. This thread has opened my eyes.

    Sometimes when I am playing, an old fart or two will ask to pass through. I will say "go right ahead." Then as he/they is/are shuffling through, we would start serving or hitting. Sometimes we will test our skills by hitting as close as possible to them yet not touching them with the ball. The guys would panic and run faster and we would wave to them that it was all in good fun.

    Got to stop doing this. I don't want to get sued.
     
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  21. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Hello!! This is America. You can sue anyone for anything, if you can find a lawyer who will take the case. As far as winning, the legal system is not intimately associated with logic, so any ol' argument that convinces 4 individuals who can't get out of jury duty will do.

    Spin the wheel, you might win big...
     
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  22. 3fees

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    A Person can call a cop for anything or file a complaint for anything.

    As too wether a person would be in trouble for hitting an opponent at the net,,answer is no, when the opponent comes in to the net for free points, he made the decision to waive safety of distance and take a chance, the net players risk of injury is on them.

    or Person is at the net and other player swings and racket is let go(slips by accident) and smashes the other player, the player at the net assumes the risk of injury, its a foreseeable event one has to be aware of,,,

    now with children or juniors, women there slightly different rules the man must wear the pants and assume the risk of injury when playing them,, The man must see the foreseeable risk for them. Thats the way it is like it or lump it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is a good thing, compared to the alternatives found in other countries.
     
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  24. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Geez, do you stand on the side of the road, wave at cars driving by and then pelt them with snowballs when they get to you?

    I did that once, but I was 12. Point being, Di(k move.
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    But when two guys are shuffling across the court with their heavy bags, it is good practice to continue hitting through the gaps or with lobs. Sometimes I have tried a kick serve to make sure I can clear their heads near the net safely, even under pressure.

    No, I am genuinely repentant. No more of this. Even if I don't hit them but they fall and break their hip because they hurried, I could get sued. This thread has given me a wake up call to change my ways.
     
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  26. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Personally, I think the UK's Loser Pays statute is an improvement on the US system.
     
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    In the US, losers can also be asked to pay, depending on the case.

    One has to be careful that it is not used against individuals being exploited by a corporation. It often takes many lawsuits to bring big corporations to justice, as they try their best to bankrupt anyone filing a lawsuit against them. There have also been many civil rights cases where the initial decisions were unfavorable, until it was clear that there was a pattern.

    The loser pays all the time idea is horrible. No one can know what the outcome will be. It will be fundamentally biased in favor of those with deep pockets.
     
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  28. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Q
    Yea, but I don't mind a judge being able to label a lawsuit as frivolous. If a plaintiff can't come close to a burden of proof, they are wasting the resources of the defendant and the taxpayer funded court system.

    Agree about the deep pockets theory. I guess that I would argue court costs should be paid by a plaintiff only when the suit is tossed early in the process and labeled by a judge as frivolous. Thus, costs would be minimal. In the event of a mid trial settlement they get split 50/50 and upon verdict they are paid by defense. My 2 cents, not a lawyer.
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    All those provisions are in place. For example, say you sue your employer saying there was some problem in the office ventilation which made you sick and you have to go home early and lie down till the next morning. then it is found that you were actually playing tennis every day. You can well be asked to pay the legal costs when you lose.

    That is why read the fine print of the product disability lawyer ads on TV. They will mention that there is no guarantee of any money from a settlement, and you may actually owe money to the company you sue if you lose.
     
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  30. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You are technically correct that the loser can be asked to pay in the US, but you are being disingenuous if anyone reading your posts feels that this happens with any frequency in the American system. It is uncommon, very uncommon.

    My guess is the vast majority of observers of the US legal system (except for the Trial Lawyers groups, of course) would conclude that the system is not suffering from too few lawsuits (for any reason).

    There is something wrong when the cost of a ladder or a car seat is being taken up more by the legal department and insurance than the R&D, marketing, raw materials or human resources departments.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
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  31. Avles

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    Right. That's why, when I walk to the net to shake hands after the match, I make sure to wear eye protection, just in case my opponent wants to try one more serve.

    Seriously, I don't see how the judge erred here. There was no finding that defendant was responsible. The judge merely held that there were questions of material fact that needed resolving (e.g. was practice really over, did plaintiff have reason to suspect that defendant would keep serving), so no summary judgment.

    What's the problem?
     
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Many such things are actually made in China. Also many of the numbers are exaggerated. Try to see how much is the fraction of legal expenses in the manufacture of a racket. I have read many articles on racket manufacturing, and have never heard it mentioned.

    In fact, what you see is that American safety standards are being adopted globally. In many countries, it was cool to blame the victim for lack of common sense. Now people don't stand for that any more. I would say that development of American safety standards may have been expensive for America, but other countries are reaping the benefits for free now.
     
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  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I definitely expected better from Cindy, considering that she was once a paralegal.
     
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  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I hate to say this, but . . .

    Every word of this is correct.
     
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  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Neither of us can say for sure without seeing the papers.

    Still, I think that as a matter of law, anyone standing on a hockey rink can expect to be hit by a puck, even if practice is over.

    And anyone on a tennis court should know a ball could come a'flyin' at any moment from any direction, regardless of whether a point or game or match or practice is over. If you are on the court, you have assumed the risk of any tennis-related injury, and nothing is ever "over" until you leave the court. On account of how it is a tennis court.

    I'd bang the gavel for the defendant.
     
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  36. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    And you worked as a paralegal?

    You obviously did not learn much.
     
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  37. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    As a matter of law, really? Could you cite the relevant law there?

    I'm pretty sure that if Bob Hockeycoach huddles the team at the center of the rink for a post-practice pep talk, and Joe Hockeyplayer decides to fire a puck into the middle of the huddle, and he injures someone, Joe Hockeyplayer could potentially be held responsible for that action. I don't think there's a "dude, you were on the rink" defense.

    Now maybe this incident didn't rise to that level of malice/negligence-- but that's a question of fact, not of law, right?

    Again, this was a summary judgment motion. I'm no lawyer, but as I understand it, the judge was just holding that it's conceivable that the defendant might be liable. Don't see how you can fault that based on what we know.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
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  38. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    The issue is somewhat fuzzy because the standard is general reasonableness. But you reasonably expect to get hit by a ball, when playing tennis (or, in my opinion, when you are around a tennis court). So you really can't complain about getting hit, even if it results in a terrible injury. The question to ask isn't whether an injury occured (that is question of damages and not of liability), but whether risk of the the contact was implicitedly assumed by agreeing to play tennis/be on the court.

    It should be noted that you can't assume the risk for criminal behavior (e.g., http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/tenni...ate-david-nalbandian-kick-142156582--ten.html)

    You should also note, in the above examples, that being allowed to go to trial does not mean that the plaintiff won. Instead, it is merely a statement that the case is not laughable and would be allowed to trial. So getting hit after playing, when you are walking off the court may be a situation in which you did not reasonably agree to get hit by the ball. The likelihood, however, is that case will lose because everyone has been hit by a ball when walkining on/off the court.

    I can certainly think of examples of liability from getting hit by a tennis ball. I cringe to recall that years ago, I played tennis dodge ball at a kids tennis camp (trying to hit other players with the ball)- I can certainly imagine a situation in which the camp would be liable if one of the players was injured because it was stupid.
     
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  39. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I don't disagree with what you chose to address in my previous post, though I will take your noncommentary on the majority of it as tacit agreement.

    Of course the as yet unaddressed issue is the flip side of your post #32, namely what about the well known and common downside to no Loser Pays, that is the quasi extortion of the threat of a lawsuit? That is, if the asking price of a ridiculous lawsuit is less than the cost of litigation, what is a potential defendant to do? "Pay up" is the answer from the accounting dept.
     
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  40. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Not for big companies all the time. Sometimes they will fight it all the way to make a point.

    For example, in the famous hot coffee lawsuit, the first award was rejected on appeal and I believe the defendant finally got some 1100 bucks. But the temperature of the coffee was reduced as a result of the lawsuit.
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    See I knew you would come around.
     
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  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    On hindsight, I should not have revealed that about Cindy.
     
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  43. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Suresh Cindy has given plenty of information out in her old posts to easily find her online, so I don't think you should worry too much.

    Some of the things she says I agree with totally, and then she goes and says other things that just boggle my mind and I almost wonder if it's two people posting on the same account(not really ... just sayin).

    Her opinion on this matter seemed to have no legal basis whatsoever so I was boggled whan I saw the paralegal thing!

    Maybe she doesnt even believe alot of what she says but just plays devils advocate to get us all worked up :) then sits back and gets a good laugh from us. If that's the case she's clearly awesome :)
     
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  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No, I won't be citing the "relevant law." On account of how I don't wish to be bothered.

    As I said, we cannot be sure without seeing the papers exactly what occurred. But I think you would agree that if the captain (who may or may not have had authority to "end" a team practice) said, "OK, everybody let's go," and someone hit another serve, then summary judgment would be appropriate.

    Remember, it isn't enough to show there are some facts are in dispute. The disputed facts have to be material. You can't resist summary judgment by saying "Well, it's conceivable the defendant might be liable." You have to show what exactly the trier of fact would have to decide so plaintiff can prevail and that those disputed facts are material.

    That's what they said in the correspondence course I took at Diploma Mill Technical Institute, anyway.

    Heck, if you told me this group had booked two hours and the facility horn hadn't yet sounded, that would be enough for me to conclude as a matter of law that *anyone standing on the court during that two hour block assumed the risk of being struck by a tennis ball,* no matter what the captain said.
     
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  45. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Right, because everyone who works as a paralegal needs to know everything about every area of law and fully comprehend it.

    I work as a paralegal, and have for a few years, but in workers' compensation defense. Does that mean I need to know everything about civil and criminal law as well?
     
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  46. Avles

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    Didn't mean to be a bother, but it seems like when a legal professional asserts that something is "a matter of law," he or she should have some sort of specific legal principle or precedent in mind to justify that assertion, even if it's just a post on a tennis forum.

    By the way, I see that in this case it was actually an appellate panel overturning the judge's summary judgment order. The opinion is here:

    http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=199996281CalRptr2d881_1857.xml&docbase=CSLWAR2-1986-2006
     
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  47. TimothyO

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    I've seen something along these lines which is a law suit waiting to happen. A teaching pro that operates at our club has kids run along the court perimiter while hitting balls at them, often at their legs and feet causing them to jib and dodge the balls. Of course they think it's hilarious. Having seen the results of a friend step on a ball I think it's stupid.

    Last week a family was taking lesson with this pro. He had mom, dad, and the three kids running the same "dril". Sure enough, a boy steps on a ball while running and goes down. He lays on the ground crying for a moment, the pro tells him it's no big deal, and he gets up eventually. I couldn't help but think how lucky the pro and the kid were since the kid didn't face plant and break his nose, crack his skull, or break an arm.

    Another time my wife (!) entered the court behind me and without my knowledge. I was warming up and nearly clobbered her with a back swing. She readily admitted it was her fault but i wonder what would have happened had it been a stranger and I actually hit her.
     
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  48. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    This happend in California to Lady Miss Kier of the old rock group DeeLite?

    Sony wanted to use her as a charatcer in a video game or animated production iirc. She said no based on their offer. They used the character anyway and she sued, lost, and was held liable for Sony's MASSIVE legal bills.

    Musicians who try to sue big companies for "sound alikes" face the same issue. A corporation wants to use a popular song for an ad. If they can't get the original on terms they like they hire someone to make a "sound alike" clearly based on the original and often confused with the original but just different enough leaglly to stand up in court.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/09/a...nds-like-beach-house.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
     
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  49. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    In the first two instances I can see a problem for the pro as he has a duty of care to his pupils and stepping on a ball is a foreseeable risk that he has blithely dismissed.

    The third instance is only a problem for the court's management if there is some fault in the court design that made the incident a foreseeable risk. It shouldn't be a problem for you if you clobbered your wife, on a legal level at least.



     
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  50. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, and these are the companies which tell us not to steal stuff. The lesson is borrow but don't steal.



     
    #50

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