Last February, a bunch of school-yard bullies attending a YMCA program so savaged 9-year-old Ethan Otterbein in a game of dodge ball that he lost several teeth in what must have been a ghastly and bloody affair.
In step, the mother of Otterbein has filed a lawsuit. But she is not going after the kids who ruthlessly pinned her son to the ground while drilling red rubber dodge balls at Otterbein's face. No, she is suing the YMCA.
All of which begs the question: When someone knocks your kid's teeth out during a community game of dodge ball, who must pay?
According to the lawsuit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, young Otterbein was just trying to have fun playing a good-spirited match of dodge ball at the Corona-Norco Family YMCA when a couple of the boys became quite unruly:
One boy held Ethan's feet to the floor next to a wall so he could not move, while the other boy took a large dodge ball and threw it into the back of Ethan's head at point blank range. The ball slammed Ethan's face into the wall causing portions of his front teeth to break.
You might think that the bullies' parents could be on the hook for such behavior. But what supposedly happened next may have opened the liability-door just a bit on the YMCA.
According to Otterbein's mother, the YMCA supervisor immediately demanded that Otterbein fill out a report stating what happened to him.
The supervisor was so insistent, according to the lawsuit, that the supervisor “prevented Ethan from contacting his mother or obtaining medical treatment until he had competed the Corona-Norco form.”
Eventually, says Otterbein's mother, she was contacted and quickly rushed to be by her son's side. She then sped over to the dentist, but the cure did not take, and the broken teeth could not be mended.
Otterbein's mother is now suing the Corona-Norco YMCA in Riverside County, claiming its supervisors were negligent in their duties.