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Published April 10 2012

ND Supreme Court affirms district ruling in 2004 bike accident case

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed a Cass County District Court ruling preventing the father of a boy injured in an accident on Fargo School District grounds from winning damages in a lawsuit, even though jurors found the district partially at fault.

The accident occurred on May 6, 2004, when the 15-year-old boy and a friend entered the Discovery Middle School auditorium through an unlocked door after hours and jumped their bikes off a 4-foot stage while rehearsing for an annual event about the 1960s.

The boy’s father, Thomas Moore, then filed a lawsuit alleging negligence on the part of the School District and a now-retired history teacher who had shown the students a tape of a similar bike stunt done two years earlier.

A Cass County jury found the School District to be 30 percent at fault for the boy’s injuries.

The jury also ruled the boy was at least 50 percent at fault, which meant that by state law, the district was not required to pay damages.

Moore appealed the ruling, claiming he’s entitled to $85,500, or 30 percent of his total claim of $285,000.

He argued he shouldn’t be denied medical expenses just because his son was found to be more at fault than the school district. In upholding the district court ruling, the Supreme Court concluded that “a parent is not entitled to recover medical expenses paid on behalf of an injured minor child whose comparative fault exceeds the fault” of the other party involved.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535


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