Last week, a Nashville resident filed a lawsuit against Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA) after claiming that she was knocked unconscious by an errant soccer ball from atop an elevated soccer field. According to the suit, she had been out walking near the prestigious all-boys prep school last year when she was hit in the side of the head with a soccer ball that came from an open air soccer field sitting atop a 3-story parking garage. She claims that the ball knocked her unconscious and threw her into the street.
Before being struck by the soccer ball, the plaintiff states that she had been a “vigorous and active person” who often exercised and socialized. However, the suit claims that she now suffers from lingering physical and mental injuries. In addition, the suit claims that the victim’s husband who has cancer also suffered because of his wife’s physical and mental injuries.
In the suit, the injured woman claims that MBA “knew of the unsafe condition caused by its use of the rooftop soccer field and the way in which it was designed and used.” The suit claims that the school failed to provide ample netting or other safety measures to prevent passers from coming into contact with the soccer balls. In addition, the plaintiff contends that the risk caused by a kicked soccer ball off of a roof is indeed foreseeable.
Depending on the outcome, this lawsuit could provide a new threshold of culpability for schools’ sporting facilities throughout the state. If the court determines that MBA is indeed accountable, other individuals struck by errant balls outside the field of play would be able to file suit for sizable damages. It would establish a duty that schools owe to those individuals within the vicinity of sporting facilities. It would also likely force schools to be much more careful about providing safety measures to protect those nearby. Although this lawsuit is still in the early stages, it will certainly be an interesting case to track.