Teen Athlete Awarded $500K for Knee Injury

     (CN) – The South Dakota Supreme Court upheld a $500,000 judgment for a 17-year-old boy who hurt his knee during an indoor youth football game sponsored by the Sioux Falls Storm.

     Gaylen Klutman attended a promotional event for the Sioux Falls Storm, which presented an autograph session, a celebrity football game and a youth clinic.
     Children, including Gaylen, were invited onto the field and then played an unsupervised game of touch football. Gaylen caught a pass, fell down and blacked out.
     When he came to, he realized that his foot was caught in the synthetic turf. He suffered a serious knee injury, including a disruption of the anterior cruciate ligament and a partial tear of the posterior cruciate ligament. He is unable to lift his foot.
     Gaylen and his family sued the team for negligent installing its turf, and a jury awarded the family $500,000.
     The Storm appealed the addition of the parents to the lawsuit, but Justice Steven L. Zinter ruled that they were entitled to recover money they paid for Gaylen’s medical expenses.
     Zinter also ruled that a chemical engineer was properly disqualified from testifying on the Storm’s behalf due to his lack of medical training.
     The Storm also moved for a new trial after receiving word that Gaylen had tried out for a semi-pro football team after his injury. The high court denied the request.
     “Although the motion and attorney’s affidavit appear in the record,” Zinter wrote, “none of the supporting evidentiary exhibits are included. In the absence of the supporting exhibits, the affidavit of counsel does not stand on its own merit.”

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