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A Better Partnership
July 31, 2016

MSC to hear mini-oral argument on whether coach’s actions were a proximate cause of student’s injuries

In Ray v Swager, No. 152723, the Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument to address whether a reasonable jury could determine that Eric Swager’s conduct was “the proximate cause” of Kersch Ray’s injuries where Swager’s actions placed Ray in the dangerous situation that resulted in Ray’s injuries.  On September 2, 2011, Ray was severely injured when he was struck by an automobile driven by Scott Platt.  At the time of the accident, Ray was a member of Chelsea High School’s cross-country team. Swager was the team’s coach and a teacher at the high school.  While running along Freer Road in the early morning, the team and Swager approached an intersection where the pedestrian traffic signal showed a “red hand.”  Swager looked both ways and decided to cross, telling the team “let’s go.”  Swager and most of the team safely crossed, but Ray, who was in the back of the group, was struck by Platt’s car and was seriously injured.  Ray sued Swager, who moved for summary disposition based on governmental immunity.  The trial court denied Swager’s motion.  The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that reasonable minds could not determine that Swager was the proximate cause of Ray’s injuries and that Swager was therefore entitled to immunity.  

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