The Supreme Court has overturned the Court of Appeals decision preventing a 13 year old member of a high school cross country team from suing the coach in addition to the driver that hit him as he was on a training run with the team. The team was on a pre-dawn training run when they came to a traffic light. The team initially stopped at the light, but continued to cross the street, against traffic laws, on their coach’s instruction. The plaintiff was one of two members of the team who were injured by a vehicle which hit them while crossing the street. In addition to the driver, the family sued the coach alleging that he was partially responsible for their son’s injuries when he ordered the team to cross the street.
The family initially lost the case regarding the claim against the coach when the Court of Appeals ruled that the coach was protected by governmental immunity. The Michigan Supreme Court subsequently held that the Court of Appeals had failed to properly analyze the cause of the child’s injuries and when the case was reconsidered, they found that the coach was not necessarily protected by governmental immunity and he could be sued for the runner’s injuries.