Tennis Star Sues USTA

While most people may not consider the risks associated with someone slipping and falling on their floor, it’s a legitimate concern that property owners have to anticipate. While sometimes an accident is just an accident, other times it may be the result of negligence, in which case the property owner is responsible for all medical damages that resulted from the fall, as well as any psychological distress, mental suffering, and/or lost income.

Eugenie Bouchard is demanding the United States Tennis Association (U.S.T.A.) pay her all of the above as a result of a head injury she suffered after slipping and falling in the locker room at the United States Open in 2015. According to Bouchard, the accident was allegedly caused by a cleaning fluid that was applied to the floor of the locker room, which she claims was dimly lit.

Before the accident, Bouchard was a top-five tennis player who had reached the singles final at Wimbledon in 2014 and the semifinals at both the French Open and the Australian Open. Although she didn’t do as well in 2015, she did take home three victories from Flushing Meadows, with an additional two victories in doubles, but all that was before her 2015 fall.

After sustaining the alleged head injury, Bouchard only played one more tennis game in 2015 and she ended up having to withdraw before completing the second set due to dizziness.

Since her fall, Bouchard has fallen to 116th in the rankings, a fact that both sides are expected to use to support their case. Bouchard and her attorneys will use it as proof that Bouchard’s performance (and by extension, income opportunities) have fallen dramatically as a direct result of her injury. The U.S.T.A. is expected to claim her performance was already in decline at the time of her fall.

The U.S.T.A. has also pointed to Bouchard’s own statements on social media and to the press, in which she denies having been seriously injured and insists she is doing well.

Bouchard’s attorney asked for those statements to be excluded from the trial. It’s true that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on social media, especially when such statements have a direct impact on the income potential of the person composing the social media posts. If Bouchard is putting on a good face to the public to hide her pain and suffering, then she is doing no more than the rest of the social media users, who consistently put the best parts of their lives on display while hiding the less pleasant parts. This is especially true of celebrities whose activity on social media can directly affect their job opportunities – in Bouchard’s case, endorsements.

Bouchard’s attorney said they will be asking for millions of dollars in damages to compensate Bouchard for her past, present and future income in the form of prize money and endorsement deals.

The U.S.T.A. is denying all responsibility for the accident, saying Bouchard assumed the risk by being in the locker room after normal hours. The two parties made several attempts at reaching a settlement agreement but were unsuccessful, so tennis fans may soon see Bouchard in court testifying against the U.S.T.A.Super Lawyers named Illinois employment discrimination and commercial law trial attorney Peter Lubin a Super Lawyer and Illinois business dispute attorneys Patrick Austermuehle and Andrew Murphy Rising Stars in the Categories of Class Action, Business Litigation, and Consumer Rights Litigation. Lubin Austermuehle’s Illinois business trial lawyers have over thirty years of experience in litigating employment discrimination and sex and race harassment lawsuits, complex class action, copyright, noncompete agreement, trademark and libel suits, consumer rights and many different types of business and commercial litigation disputes.  Our Hinsdale and Streamwood employment discrimination, sexual harassment, business dispute lawyers, civil litigation lawyers and copyright attorneys handle emergency business lawsuits involving copyrights, trademarks, injunctions, and TROS, covenant not to compete, franchise, distributor and dealer wrongful termination and trade secret lawsuits and many different kinds of business disputes involving shareholders, partnerships, closely held businesses and employee breaches of fiduciary duty. We also assist Chicago and Oak Brook area businesses and business owners who are victims of fraud. You can contact us by calling at 630-333-0333.  You can also contact us online here.

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