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Ahmed Abdush-Shakir v. The Kansas City Storm, Coach Leonard Horne and Aaron Randle

Type of Action:Personal Injury – Negligent Supervision

Injuries Alleged:Broken Leg

Name of Case:Ahmed Abdush-Shakir v. The Kansas City Storm, Coach Leonard Horne and Aaron Randle (teammate)

Court:Jackson County, Missouri

Case No.:0816-CV05613

Name of Judge:The Honorable Judge Jay Daugherty

Special Damages:$165,000

Settlement Amount:$421,000 (Note that the City of Kansas City, Missouri agreed to indemnify Coach Leonard Horne up to the statutory damages cap of $378,814. The City paid $320,00, which is the most that it has paid under the current cap. Mr. Randle’s insurance company paid the remaining $101,000 (i.e. the policy limit plus $1,000 in medical pay coverage)

Date of SettlementApril 2009

Plaintiffs’ Experts:None

Defendant’s Experts:None

Attorneys for Plaintiffs:Scott Shachtman with The Sly James Firm

Attorneys for Defendants:Chad Stewart with the City Attorney’s Office

The Facts

On July 8, 2005, Ahmed attended swim practice at Central High School in the morning. Coach Leonard Horne was responsible for the safety and well-being of Ahmed and his teammates that day. During the swim practice, Danielle Randall jumped from the platform into the pool at least once. It was common for the kids to jump off the platform from time to time during practice.

Shortly before Ahmed finished swimming that day, Coach Horne allowed Aaron Randle and Darrion Thomas to sit on top of the diving platform in their street clothes. This was the first and last time that Coach Horne ever allowed someone to sit on top of the diving platform in their street clothes.

After Ahmed finished swimming, he got out of the pool and walked over to the diving platform. He walked up the stairs to the platform. He planned on jumping into the pool.

When Ahmed got to the top of the platform he saw Darrion Thomas sitting toward the back of the platform and Aaron Randle sitting toward the front. Ahmed was the only person on the platform wearing a bathing suit.

Coach Horne was sitting at a table near the platform doing paperwork. Coach Horne had a clear view of the diving platform. Coach Horne admitted in his deposition that he had a duty to supervise Aaron Randle, Darrion Thomas and Ahmed Abdush-Shakir while they were all on the diving platform.

The first two times that Ahmed tried to jump off the platform Aaron Randle put his arm out and stopped him. David Lemons, who was in the pool, overheard Ahmed yell, “stop playing around”. Coach Horne remained at the table and took absolutely no action whatsoever.

On Ahmed’s third attempt to jump from the platform, Aaron Randle again put his arm out. Ahmed was moving too fast this time and started to slide toward the edge of the platform. Ahmed grabbed the side-rail, but was unable to stop himself from falling into the pool. Coach Horne saw Ahmed lose his grip and fall. On his way down, Ahmed’s left leg and right foot slammed into the side of the pool.

Victoria Rounds and Alex Obiefune helped Ahmed get out of the pool. Ahmed’s leg and foot were bleeding and you could see his bone. He was in a tremendous amount of pain. Initially, Coach Horne remained at the table while Victoria, Alex and David Lemons tried to help Ahmed.

Coach Horne eventually got up from the table and yelled at Ahmed. Coach Horne also told David Lemons not to call 911. Fortunately for Ahmed, Mr. Lemons did what he thought was necessary and called 911. Ahmed was taken to the hospital by Mast Ambulance and was diagnosed with a badly fractured leg and foot.

Ahmed has undergone four surgeries on his left leg so far and will need at least one more surgery to remove the internal hardware holding his leg together. He walks with a limp and can no longer competitively swim.

Ahmed planned on swimming in College and dreamed of going to the Olympics. He was a very talented swimmer with a promising future. Ahmed’s swimming career ended shortly after this tragic event when his surgeon, Dr. Mark Sinclair, told him to take a break from swimming.

LIABILITY

Throughout the course of discovery, it had been established that Coach Leonard Horne was negligent in at least the following respects:

  • Coach Horne allowed Aaron Randle and Darion Thomas to sit on the diving platform in their street clothes;

  • Coach Horne failed to supervise Mr. Randle and Mr. Thomas while they were on the diving platform;

  • After Ahmed climbed the stairs to jump off the platform, Coach Horne failed to supervise Mr. Randle, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Abdush-Shakir while they were all on the platform together. Coach Horne admitted in his deposition that he was responsible for supervising all of the kids on the diving platform; and

  • Coach Horne failed to call 911immediately after Ahmed was injured. Instead Coach Horne yelled at Ahmed and told David Lemons not to call 911.

In short, Coach Leonard Horne was simply not paying attention to what his kids were doing and as a result Ahmed sustained permanent and debilitating injuries.

Ahmed’s Injuries and Damages

Mr. Abdush-Shakir’s injuries are permanent and he will likely have a limp for the rest of his life. He has undergone four surgeries so far, the last of which took place a few months back. More specifically, Ahmed has undergone the following procedures:

  • July 8, 2005 through July 11, 2005: External fixation applied to open left proximal tibia fracture. See attached X-rays.

  • October 6, 2005: External fixation removed and cast applied.

  • December 21, 2005: Aspiration of bone marrow and injection into left tibia due to nonunion.