In what was anticipated to be a three-day jury trial, the Circuit Court for Baltimore County granted a local Board of Education’s motion for judgment at the end of the Plaintiff’s case-in-chief. The Board was sued by the family of a sixth-grade girl who injured her knee while running an obstacle course during her physical education class. The family vaguely asserted a claim of educational malpractice and negligent supervision. Their claim stemmed mostly from a belief that sixth grade girls should not participate in physical education with eighth grade boys.
Plaintiffs alleged that the the sixth grade student was pushed by an eighth-grade boy while she ran through the course, despite not knowing the boy and having no reason to know why he would want to harm her. In defense of the Board, Cullen Casey and Michelle Johnson argued that the four physical education teachers present on the date of the injury at all times acted appropriately, from their meticulous design of the obstacle course, to the instructions they gave to all students before participating, to their presence on the field with the students as the course was run. Maintaining student safety was at all times a top priority. Unintentionally, the sixth grader bolstered the Board’s position by affirmatively stating that had she not been pushed by the eighth grader, she would not have been injured, and she would have finished the obstacle course without being hurt.
At the conclusion of Plaintiff’s case, we made a motion for judgement on behalf of the Board, arguing that Plaintiff had not put forward any evidence establishing the proper standard of care by which to hold a defendant in a negligent supervision case. The Court granted the motion, emphasized that not only had Plaintiff failed to provide evidence of the proper standard of care by which Defendant should be held, but she also failed to note any flaw or defect in the obstacle course itself that could have caused her injury, such that the case could be sent to a jury on the basis of premises liability.