Divided high court: Runner’s suit against coach can proceed

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a runner whose family sued his high school cross-country coach after he was severely injured by a vehicle during an early-morning practice that began in darkness.

In a 4-3 decision Monday, justices reversed the appeal court, which had dismissed the lawsuit against coach Eric Swager because of governmental immunity. The high court says the lower court improperly analyzed the proximate cause of Kersch Ray’s injuries. It ordered the appeals court to reconsider the case.

Ray was a 13-year-old member of the Chelsea High School cross-country team in 2011. Runners stopped at an intersection for a “do not walk” symbol but then crossed, allegedly at Swager’s direction.

A vehicle struck Ray and another teammate.

Ray’s family sued the coach and the driver.

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