Cheerleader, parents sue coach, school, district over girl's injury during camp

By The Cook County Record | Aug 3, 2015

A high school cheerleader and her parents are suing a local high school, school district and cheerleading coach for not properly supervising her during camp, which allegedly led to her injuries while practicing an aerial move.

Martin Gomez and Rosemary Gomez, as parents of Olivia Gomez, filed a complaint July 28 in Cook County Circuit Court against Jaime Taft, Argo Community High School and School District 217 Board of Education.

On Aug. 23 and 24, 2014, Olivia Gomez, a sophomore junior varsity cheerleader, was attending a two-day cheerleading camp at the high school, run by Taft.

According to the lawsuit, Taft was focusing most of her attention during the camp on both days, with volunteers handling most of the instruction to the junior varsity squad, and on the second day, a volunteer was assigned to each group of four or five junior varsity students when they were told to practice a stunt called Twist Up, involving two girls on each side of a girl called the flyer, who they lift into the air, spotted by the other two girls, one in front, one in back. As she's lifted facing toward the back, the lawsuit states, she's turned to the front during the lift.

While practicing, Gomez's volunteer left the group, the lawsuit states, and the front spotted left the group, too, at which point Gomez was lifted into the air and fell forward and "landing onto her wrist and body and was severely injured."

Neither Taft not the volunteer saw the fall, the lawsuit states, and afterward, Taft didn't contact emergency assistance, leaving Gomez sitting "in pain, suffering for a significant period of time without any medical assistance until her parents came to pick her up."

As a result of Taft and the volunteer's negligence and willful and wanton misconduct, Gomez allegedly suffered serious injuries, pain and suffering, and incurred medical expenses for her parents.

The plaintiffs seek more than $100,000 in damages, plus unspecified punitive damages and court costs. The plaintiffs are represented by Matthew K. Abrams of the Abrams Law Group in Skokie.

Cook County Circuit Court case number 2015L007675.

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