I’ve spent a lot of time on this site discussing the standard of care of combat sports coaches and the possibility of negligence lawsuits. This week headlines broke illustrating such concerns are not merely academic. A California based brazilian jiu jitsu club was ordered to pay substantial damages to an injured student following jury findings of negligently caused paralysis.
The Times of San Diego report that this week a California jury ordered Del Mar Jiu Jitsu club to pay just over $46,000,000 in total damages to a student who suffered partial quadriplegia at the hands of an instructor.
The Times reports that the Plaintiff “was paired with instructor Francisco Iturralde, a second-degree black belt, who placed Greener in a position that put his entire body weight upon Greener and crushed his cervical vertebrae, paralyzing him. Attorneys say Greener was hospitalized for several months and suffered multiple strokes, among a series of other ailments….The jury deliberated for two days before returning its verdict on Tuesday, which awarded Greener $637,959 for loss of past and future earnings, $1,337,153.23 for past medical expenses, $8,500,000 for future medical expenses, $11,000,000 for past pain and suffering, and $25,000,000 for future pain and suffering.”
The idea that a combat sports coach can be negligent is not novel. Yes combat sports have a level of danger to them. But coaches still have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to teach their students safely. In doing so they must meet the applicable standard of care. This will include being knowledgeable about the known harms that can arise from poor coaching, having reasonable systems in place to minizine these risks and following these systems.
Seperate from this tragic case of paralysis, coaches should be aware of CTE and Concussions and have reasonable policies in place to mitigate these risks if they are in the combat sports business.
One thought on “Jiu Jitsu Club Ordered to Pay Paralyzed Student $46 Million in Damages For Negligence”
Wow, all Jiu Jitsu coaches beware! It is so easy to get injured, especially for those training over 40. Liability insurance should be mandatory at the club you train at. I believe members at most clubs have to waive their rights when they sign up to join most clubs, at least at the one I trained at.