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    Take that! Staten Island justice tosses out young judo student's injury lawsuit

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    Jerry Hays


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    Post by Jerry Hays Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:12 pm

    Please visit http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/08/take_that_staten_island_justic.html for an article called Take that! Staten Island justice tosses out young judo student's injury lawsuit

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    Post by Jonesy Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:34 pm

    Excellent.
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    Sukai


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    Post by Sukai Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:12 am

    O the beauty and flaws of the American justice system. Long Live Judo.
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    Post by Guest Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:14 am

    I will likely be in the minority opinion on this matter. While I think a million-dollar lawsuit is outrageous it would appear to me that with this ruling people who run a martial arts club are immune from any responsibility whenever someone gets injured due to the poor decision of the “sensei”. I think there is something wrong with that. At my first Judo club I witnessed things that made me cringe. Heck, I admit it….as a beginner I once hurt someone and felt awful about it because back then I just didn’t know better. He wasn’t a kid. He was a young adult. They used to make the beginner white belts do randori after their second class with other white belts and beginners. Now that I’ve been doing this a while I think that’s reckless. My Judo club was pretty big and I didn’t know this guy. I wasn’t sure if he had been doing this a week or several months. I had been doing Judo for about a month and I threw this guy with a standing kata guruma. His ukemi was virtually non-existant and he got hurt. He was knocked out. I think he may have had a concussion. I felt awful about it but back then I just did my best and worked my hardest. I didn’t have any clue about “taking it easy” or “going light” or whatever. I was new to Judo and felt like I had to do my best and work my hardest. That’s how I approached any endeavor.

    The article stated, “The academy submitted an affidavit from a judo expert who said pairing an adult student with a minor student during judo drills doesn't depart from any accepted practice, said court papers.” Yeah sure, but **which** adult student? An experienced yudansha who knows and understand how to practice with children or some Average Joe off the street in his 5th Judo class? I’m guessing the truth is closer to the latter than the former.

    Great….so Mr. Morales and his son doesn’t get a pay day. On the flip side this instructor suffers no consequence either.
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    jkw


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    Post by jkw Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:26 am

    Dave R. wrote:Great….so Mr. Morales and his son doesn’t get a pay day.  On the flip side this instructor suffers no consequence either.

    No financial consequence - but I imagine this has been a deeply unpleasant experience.

    What impressed me about the ruling was that it seemed reasonable and well thought out. I would hope that had the instructor been negligent or managed training poorly, he would indeed have been found liable.

    As for injuries, I was always taught that while we must take all precautions to train safely, we should also see injuries - and how they are managed - is an important component of training.
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    Post by ccwscott Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:32 am

    Dave R. wrote:I will likely be in the minority opinion on this matter.  While I think a million-dollar lawsuit is outrageous it would appear to me that with this ruling people who run a martial arts club are immune from any responsibility whenever someone gets injured due to the poor decision of the “sensei”.  I think there is something wrong with that.  At my first Judo club I witnessed things that made me cringe.  Heck, I admit it….as a beginner I once hurt someone and felt awful about it because back then I just didn’t know better.  He wasn’t a kid.  He was a young adult.  They used to make the beginner white belts do randori after their second class with other white belts and beginners.  Now that I’ve been doing this a while I think that’s reckless.  My Judo club was pretty big and I didn’t know this guy.  I wasn’t sure if he had been doing this a week or several months.  I had been doing Judo for about a month and I threw this guy with a standing kata guruma.  His ukemi was virtually non-existant and he got hurt.  He was knocked out.  I think he may have had a concussion.  I felt awful about it but back then I just did my best and worked my hardest.  I didn’t have any clue about “taking it easy” or “going light” or whatever.  I was new to Judo and felt like I had to do my best and work my hardest.  That’s how I approached any endeavor.

    The article stated, “The academy submitted an affidavit from a judo expert who said pairing an adult student with a minor student during judo drills doesn't depart from any accepted practice, said court papers.”  Yeah sure, but **which** adult student?  An experienced yudansha who knows and understand how to practice with children or some Average Joe off the street in his 5th Judo class?  I’m guessing the truth is closer to the latter than the former.  

    Great….so Mr. Morales and his son doesn’t get a pay day.  On the flip side this instructor suffers no consequence either.

    That's essentially how I felt about it too.  I like the general principle the judge is using there, that the club is liable only if they did something that creates dangers beyond what is normal in the sport, but I wonder what the exact circumstances of this injury were.  Did they throw the kid in with a black belt or some spaz white belt who still wants to turn every drill into shiai?  I imagine if the kid broke his ankle that it's closer to the latter.  Though when someone sues for over a million dollars over a minor injury, I have a hard time believing that they are being fair and honest.
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    Post by Cichorei Kano Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:52 am

    Court decisions with regard to judo injuries in the US have generally been fair. There was another case many years ago where after class was finished and the instructor had left the tatami, a senior student (black belt) threw a white belt with uchi-mata resulting in some injury I can't remember (concussion of fractures). In that case the senior student was found liable, the instructor not. The argument had to do with the students on their own initiative after class having returned to the tatami, the fact that the judge agreed that uchi-mata was an advanced technique, and the fact that the black belt should have known that applying this technique on a beginner was dangerous. I have the entire opinion, but unfortunately do not have a copy on my computer nor do I currently have access to the document.
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    Post by BillC Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:54 am

    Dave R. wrote:
    Great….so Mr. Morales and his son doesn’t get a pay day.  On the flip side this instructor suffers no consequence either.

    What ... lawyers are free? Time spent defending oneself in depositions, court, etc. is free? This dojo could very well have folded up, the owner lost his house even if he won. Reading about this should be reminder that proper adherence to 100% membership, sanctions, umbrella policies, etc. is worth the hassle and expense.

    Meantime ... I would wager that the plaintiff's lawyer worked on contingency ... as could the lawyer of anyone that steps onto a mat (in the US at least). A skinned knee could bankrupt even the defendant that prevails.

    On the flip side, without being there, and without attending any of the court proceedings, how are we to know that the plaintiff did not have any basis for this complaint, that there wasn't any indication of negligence? That the plaintiff's lawyer ... was this a TV lawyer we do not know ... did an adequate job of preparing and presenting the case? Remember, these things are decided on the preponderance of the evidence, not some universal and absolute determination of right and wrong. US courts do not have associated investigatory appendages, they rule on what is brought to them, in a civil cases such as this those are both private parties presenting their case within their ability and means to do so.

    How much of our personal reaction is a prejudice towards a stereotype of New Yorkers as obnoxious, loud-mouthed, sue-happy insurance frauds (i.e. "doesn’t get a pay day")? Doesn't mean that they are never wronged.

    The right to bring a lawsuit is fundamental, but let's not pretend anything is without consequence. "Life have a balance Daniel-san ..."

    Stacey ... this is what I remember from staying awake in high school civics class ... and from being sued a few times ... feel free to correct.
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    Post by Guest Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:00 am

    BillC wrote:
    How much of our personal reaction is a prejudice towards a stereotype of New Yorkers as obnoxious, loud-mouthed, sue-happy insurance frauds (i.e. "doesn’t get a pay day")?  Doesn't mean that they are never wronged.

    That's a very strange statement.  I didn't know New Yorkers are viewed as obnoxious, loud-mouthed, sue-happy insurance frauds.  I was born in NYC and lived in Queens for eight years.  Perhaps I am obnoxious and loud-mouthed and don't even know it.  Shocked  I have a great affinity for NYC and I definitely don't have any biases against New Yorkers.  My comment on a "pay day" had to do with the sought after $1.25 million.  I would say the same thing if this lawsuit happened in South Dakota.  I can't think of one context where the medical costs for a fractured ankle would amount of $1.25 million even in NYC.
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    Post by BillC Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:03 am

    Dave R. wrote:
    BillC wrote:
    How much of our personal reaction is a prejudice towards a stereotype of New Yorkers as obnoxious, loud-mouthed, sue-happy insurance frauds (i.e. "doesn’t get a pay day")?  Doesn't mean that they are never wronged.

    That's a very strange statement.  I didn't know New Yorkers are viewed as obnoxious, loud-mouthed, sue-happy insurance frauds.  I was born in NYC and lived in Queens for eight years.  Perhaps I am obnoxious and loud-mouthed and don't even know it.  Shocked  I have a great affinity for NYC and I definitely don't have any biases against New Yorkers.  My comment on a "pay day" had to do with the sought after $1.25 million.  I would say the same thing if this lawsuit happened in South Dakota.  I can't think of one context where the medical costs for a fractured ankle would amount of $1.25 million even in NYC.

    Please understand that I am being a little bit tongue-in-cheek there, but please also recognize the New York stereotype as viewed from the rest of the country ... so not a strange statement at all ... lived in New York myself for a time ... can't say that I wasn't aware of a certain style ... guys that would take a sledge to their car after a fender-bender, or to have someone whack them good and give them a shiner before they went to the emergency room. Not to mention ... my father-in-law so proud of all the things he had that "fell off of a truck" or his advice that I should work in a "cash business" like he did ... or suing family members after an accident and offering to divide up the settlement ... again in cash. Rolling Eyes  Robbed three times in one year, including we discovered later by the moving company when we finally got the heck out. Sure, that happens everywhere but New York does it with a certain memorable style.thumbs 

    When I left I drove by car over the GWB, there was a billboard at that time for "A Chorus Line" ... it passed by before I could do a double-take but I could have sworn that everyone in the chorus line had their hand in the pocket of the person in front of them.

    But you understand my point, it's important NOT to pre-judge the situation just because of its location.

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