Several month ago, we analyzed a negligence claim made by Nicole Ziegelmeyer, a two-time Olympic Speed Skating medal winner. As we reported back on July 17, 2006, [ Olympic Skater Denied Thrill of Victory ], Ms. Ziegelmeyer was preparing for the Nagano Winter Games at a skating facility operated by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in Lake Placid, New York, when she fell, hit the fiberglass boards surrounding the rink, and incurred serious spinal injuries.
In her lawsuit, Ziegelmeyer claimed entitlement to compensation on the ground that the USOC--and others--had failed to properly install protective padding. However, the Green County Supreme Court did not agree and granted the USOC's motion to dismiss the skater's case, finding that Ms. Ziegelmeyer had assumed the risk of injury by engaging in the sport. After the Appellate Division, Third Department, affirmed the dismissal on appeal, Ziegelmeyer then perfected her case to the New York State Court of Appeals.
For those of you who did not catch our original post, here's how we gauged Ms. Ziegelmeyer's chances of success:
While Ms. Ziegelmeyer's attorney has indicated an intention to appeal to the state's highest court, we do not hold out much hope for a favorable outcome....Sure enough, folks, we called it right!
Less than a week ago, the Court of Appeals cast its vote against the Olympian. The slip opinion consists of only four sentences and reads as follows:
The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs.And with that, the court skirted the skater's personal-injury claim and thwarted any possibility of a recovery. They call that a "triple slam," no?
Plaintiff, a short-track Olympic speedskater, was injured when she fell on the ice during practice and hit the boards surrounding the rink. Although safety pads had been placed on the boards, plaintiff fell in such a way that her feet lifted the pads, causing her hip to strike the boards directly. Because plaintiff was aware of the exact manner in which the safety pads had been set up on the day of her accident, the Appellate Division correctly held that plaintiff had assumed the risk of her injuries, and properly affirmed the Supreme Court order granting summary judgment dismissing the complaint....
For a copy of the Court of Appeals's decision in Ziegelmeyer v. United States Olympic Committee, please click on the following link:
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in this case, please click on the following link: