Lawsuit Against Karate School Dismissed ~ OPOLAW Injury Blog

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lawsuit Against Karate School Dismissed

A judge has dismissed a personal injury lawsuit filed by a woman whose nose was broken in a karate sparring match. Carolyn Martezian was injured in a match with Ralph Bertelle, and accused him of intentionally, negligently and/or recklessly striking her in the face in violation of the rules of sparring. Mertezian also accuses Empire State Karate School and its president Joyce Santamaria of negligence. But Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle dismissed the suit, stating that Martezian, who has six years of martial arts experience, knew what the inherent risks of the sport were. Judge Doyle said, "The primary assumption of risk doctrine, particularly as applied to sporting venues and recreational events, relieves defendants such as the one in the case at bar of liability 'when a consenting participant is aware of the risks; has an appreciation of the nature of the risks; and voluntarily assumes the risks.' "Therefore, the court finds that being struck in the face while sparring, which itself involves punching and kicking your opponent while attempting to block punches and kicks from your opponent, was a risk that was known and apparent to this plaintiff when she chose to take this sparring class. "Indeed, plaintiff signed a contract with the school which states, in part, that plaintiff acknowledges that the risk of sustaining an injury resulting from broken bones or even death is inherent in the sport of karate and plaintiff waives her right to recover against the karate school in the event she sustained such an injury."

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