Soccer fan lawsuit heads back to trial court
Posted December 16, 2008
Updated December 17, 2008
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Court of Appeals has reversed a trial court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit stemming from a local woman's being hit in the head with a ball at a women's soccer game.
In a unanimous decision, the court ruled the judge was premature in dismissing the complaint that Teresa Allred and her husband filed in April 2006. Allred, who was sitting behind a goal, suffered substantial head injuries at the match in April 2003.
In February 2007, the court dismissed the case against Capital Area Soccer League and others with prejudice.
Allred claimed the league was negligent in failing to warn fans of the risk of being struck by a ball, failed to proved a safe environment and failed to install protective netting behind the goals to protect spectators.
The appeals court ruled that the Allred's allegations were adequate to establish a duty and possibly a a breach of that duty and damages arising out of the alleged breach of duty.
Basing its ruling on previous case law, which dealt mostly with baseball, the court said it is rare for a negligence claim to be dismissed based on lawyers' paperwork and that such dismissals should be limited to cases where there is a clear allegation that defeats a plaintiff's claim.
The list of defendants in the suit includes Capital Area Soccer League, Inc.; Wake County; Women's United Soccer Association; Time Warner Inc.; and Time Warner entities that owned the Carolina Courage and the New York Power teams.