(CN) – A ninth-grader can sue his school for injuries that he suffered while practicing a bike stunt for a “’60s Day” skit, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled.
In 2004, the unidentified student attended Eugenia Hart’s history class at Discovery Middle School in Fargo, N.D. Students could earn extra credit by participating in “’60s Day,” which culminated with their studies of that decade.
After Hart showed her students a video of a bike stunt on “’60s Day” from two years earlier, two students agreed to do a tandem version of the stunt.
The second student testified at trial that he asked Hart for permission to perform the stunt, and “didn’t get a yes or no answer.”
Hart said that on the day before “’60s Day,” she told first student that the stunt was “not a good idea.”
The boys entered the auditorium through a side door to practice the jump. While the second landed the jump successfully, the first boy crashed and slammed his head on the floor, suffering permanent injuries.
His father, Thomas Moore, sued Hart and Fargo Public School District No. 1.
A jury determined that Hart did nothing that would constitute gross negligence or recklessness.
Justice Daniel Crothers overturned the decision on appeal.
“We agree with those courts that refuse to apply recreational use immunity statutes to bar suits by students injured on school grounds during the school day,” Crothers wrote. “Because the district can be liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior for Hart’s alleged negligence, wrongful act, or omission … we reverse the summary judgment and remand for trial against the district.”