Michigan prep tennis player smacked in eye with ball loses appeal

Associated Press

Detroit — The Michigan Supreme Court said it won't be the next umpire in a dispute over an eye injury at a high school tennis practice.

But the 4-3 decision Friday was as close as a ball falling near the white line.

Bradley Trecha suffered a permanent eye injury when a ball struck him at practice at Fenton High School in 2016.

Brenden Remillard said he was frustrated after losing a match and didn’t look before hitting the ball that smacked the 14-year-old freshman. He apologized and got his teammate some ice.

A Genesee County judge and the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Remillard and dismissed the lawsuit. The appeals court said it is “reasonable to foresee that participants will cease hitting tennis balls at different times,” even when practice is over.

The Supreme Court, which heard arguments in April, said it won't take the case, which means the appeals court decision will stand.

Justice Megan Cavanagh wrote a lengthy dissent. She said the factual conclusions made in lower courts did not match evidence in the case.

"The coach made the team run after practice as punishment for the incident," Cavanagh wrote. “Thus, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to (Trecha), defendant’s conduct was prohibited during Fenton High School tennis practices.”

Michigan residents, she said, don't “foresee being subjected to the risk of a player angrily and blindly striking a ball while playing tennis in their local park.”

Cavanagh was joined by justices Richard Bernstein and Elizabeth Welch.