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Stars: They’re Just Like Us ! (Part 2 – athlete edition)

You may remember (way back to early September) when Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard had to pull out of the US Open—due to a concussion—after she slipped and slammed her head in a darkened training room at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The details of the story, at least from her perspective, are that she went back to the locker room to take an ice bath. Once she got there, she was a little disoriented as the lights were off and the floor was slick; subsequently, she slipped and fell backward.

Athlete or not, she did what many disgruntled people do: Sue! Although many naysayers claim she is hoping for better success in one court than the other, we believe everyone, even athletes and other famous types, deserves his/her day in court. According to the suit, “Ms. Bouchard entered the physiotherapy room of the women’s locker room when she was caused to slip and fall by a slippery, foreign and dangerous substance on the floor. [Her injuries] were caused solely by the reason of carelessness, negligence, wanton and willful disregard on the part of Defendant USTA.”  Sounds like something we would say.

In all seriousness, however, liability here may depend on the standard of care required in locker rooms. Courts in Canada have repeatedly iterated that liability analysis is fact driven and varies from case to case. Premises in which there is a higher risk of spillage require more vigilant policies and procedures.  (Of course, this action was brought in the United Stated District Court, and USA laws will be applicable, not Canadian; but hey, she is Canadian, right? So let us hypothesize here.) Locker rooms, like areas around pools, tend to have wet surfaces, and it is likely the defence will argue that she should have expected the floors to be wet, or that she was not wearing the proper footwear.

In any case, what we can learn from this incident is that no one is safe. If a superstar tennis player can slip, and sustain a concussion, then us regular Joes can too.  So be circumspect of your surroundings, especially in places where you could expect liquid substances on the premises. And if you do slip, you can always call us. We have expertise in dealing with disgruntled people—athletes included!

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