(CN) – A Miami-Dade County elementary school teacher claims in a lawsuit that she was manhandled by the Miami Heat’s mascot during a pep rally, sustaining debilitating injuries.
In a complaint filed in circuit court, plaintiff Susan Sanchez says she was a teacher at the Caribbean Elementary School in April 2013, when she was asked to participate with other teachers and students at a school event hosted by the Miami Heat organization.
“The purpose of the pep rally was to entertain the school children and teachers and thereby promote goodwill towards the Miami Heat organization,” Sanchez says.
Among those the Miami Heat brought to the event was the team’s mascot, “Burnie,” who was on hand to stir the crowd and engage in hijinks with other even participants.
Sanchez says that at one point during the pep rally Burnie asked the volunteering teachers to stand in front of the students and participate in a dance.
In spite of the back surgery she had in 2008 and hardware implantation consisting of crews and a plate in her lower back, Sanchez claims that since she had performed similar activities in the past, she dutifully agreed to follow the low-impact dance routines directed by Mascot.
But Sanchez claims she quickly found herself in a situation she wasn’t prepared for and would have avoided.
“Suddenly and without warning and without verbal or written consent, Burnie touched Plaintiff and attempted to lift her leg past 90 degrees, and push out her right leg in an effort to have her do a split,” the complaint says.
Sanchez says despite her requests Burnie stop pulling on her, the mascot persisted.
“The Plaintiff fell to her knees and ultimately sustained a labral tear of her left hip and now suffers from complex regional pain syndrome type 1,” the complaint says.
Sanchez says that she continues to suffer pain from the debilitating injuries she suffered and that she has been able to return to work as a school teacher.
The complaint claims that during events hosted by the Miami Heat Burnie often engages in physical activities with participants without their consent, and has in fact injured others in the past.
Susan Sanchez’s husband Carlos Sanchez appears also as a plaintiff in this lawsuit, and says that due to his wife’s injuries he lost her care, comfort and society.
The Sanchezes seek unspecified damages on claims of negligence, battery and loss of consortium.
They are represented by Keith Chasin of Miami.
The Miami Heat did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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