(CN) – An Iowa school district is not liable for the actions of a basketball player who hit an opponent in the head during a game, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled.
Andrew McSorley was ejected from the game after elbowing Jeremy Brokaw in the head. Brokaw and his parents sued McSorley for assault and battery.
The trial court awarded the Brokaws $23,000 in compensatory damages. But it denied punitive damages and dismissed a claim against the school district for negligent supervision.
The Brokaws appealed the compensatory damages as insufficient.
Judge Eisenhauser ruled that McSorley’s elbow did not cause Jeremy’s medical problems, which have ranged from epilepsy to headaches and hallucinations. These problems may have been caused by Jeremy’s slip and fall on ice or when he was hit in the head with a baseball, the judge found.
Eisenhauer agreed with the trial court that McSorley’s actions were not egregious enough to rise to the level of punitive damages. He confirmed dismissal of the negligent supervision claim against the school.
“Because (the school) could not reasonably foresee that McSorley would commit a battery during the game, it could not breach any duty to Jeremy,” Eisenhauer wrote.