N.J.: student kicked off track team, father sues

by Walter Olson on May 28, 2013

Ervin Mears Jr. has sued in Camden County, claiming his son Mawusimensah Mears, a sophomore, was kicked off the track team on the grounds of unexcused absences from practice. “‘Participation in extracurricular activities is a right,’ Mears said. Not allowing his son to participate constitutes bullying, harassment, and an ‘abusive school environment’ in which the sophomore’s rights to due process and freedom of speech were impeded, the suit says.” He wants $40 million. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

{ 10 comments }

1 Sandman 05.28.13 at 2:54 am

The thing is, he may actually have a case (maybe not a legal case but perhaps a moral case), but when he asks for $40 million and accuses the school of ‘bullying’, he loses all credibility. Of course, Ervin were allowed to choose where his son goes to school (and thus change schools when he’s kicked off the team), there’s really no case (legal or moral) at all.

2 marco73 05.28.13 at 8:56 am

So Mr. Mears is concerned that his child may not get enough exposure to earn a college scholarship in track.
Wonder if Mr. Mears is familiar with the Striesand effect. Maybe his kid is fast. But how many college coaches want to give a scholarship to a kid who’s name will pop up in all the search engines with “SUES school and coaches for $40 million.”

3 L. C. Burgundy 05.28.13 at 9:23 am

Most high school athletic teams are generally selective and you can be cut solely at the coach’s discretion. Non-selective teams are generally for things like intramural sports. His kid really has no right to be on the track team.

4 wfjag 05.28.13 at 9:42 am

Entitlement comes to High School sports:

“The suit says his son was subjected to bullying and harassment. It seeks $40 million plus 2012 and 2013 varsity letters and championship jackets.”

[and]

“I felt in a way, disrespected,” Mawusimensah [Mears], 16, said Friday. “At practice, I work hard and I try to be the best athlete I can be, but at meet time, I didn’t get the respect that I thought I deserved.”

Earning the varsity letters, championship jackets and respect isn’t relevant. Rather, the standard is what a 16-year-old male believes he “deserve[s]“.

5 Anonymous Nicholas 05.28.13 at 1:46 pm

Nincompoop plaintiff: ‘Participation in extracurricular activities is a right’

Jude: ‘Nuh uh’

Case closed. Next case!

Once again, Overlawyered forgets that nincompoops have access to the court system. That isn’t surprising and the remedy is worse than the problem itself. Overlawyered should focus on bad court decisions since there is no way to fix the filing of stupid lawsuits.

6 gitarcarver 05.28.13 at 2:15 pm

Anonymous Nicholas,

Overlawyered should focus on bad court decisions since there is no way to fix the filing of stupid lawsuits.

So you agree the case is ridiculous and has no merit? Then why should someone (in this case taxpayers) have to pay to defend a baseless and meritless lawsuit?

There is an answer and that is for the filers of non-nonsensical lawsuits to have to cover the costs of those who have to defend them.

I agree people have the right to be stupid. That right doesn’t include me paying for their stupidity.

7 ras 05.28.13 at 9:22 pm

AN,

Overlawyered should focus on bad court decisions since there is no way to fix the filing of stupid lawsuits.

No, Overlawyered should focus on those topics that Overlawyered wishes to focus on. Those who think they can do better should start their own blog. Don’t tell us, show us.

P.S. “No way to fix the filing of stupid lawsuits”? How would you know that? I can think of several possibilities, just off the top of my head. So can gitarcarver, apparently, and likely many other readers can, too.

8 Hugo S. Cunningham 05.29.13 at 6:56 am

I agree with others that the helicopter dad has done his son no good, blighting his future prospects with the Streisand effect.

If one could somehow turn back the clock, the lesson that should have been imparted to the son (by both the school *and* a realistic father) is “teamwork.” In many applications (and certainly in school athletics), raw talent won’t help you if nobody can stand working with you, eg. if you play the entitled prima donna. If the coach insists on trying you in a certain slot, give it your best. Pay attention to policies on absenteeism; they apply to you just like your teammates.

Kids should, within reason, be allowed to recover from mistakes. The son washed out this year, but he should have a chance to try out again next year (assuming no lawsuit). If he really has the talent his doting father believes, it will show up.

9 No Name Guy 05.30.13 at 12:08 pm

AN said: “That isn’t surprising and the remedy is worse than the problem itself”

Uh, tell me again HOW loser pays is worse than baseless, idiotic suits?

10 Jerseygram 05.30.13 at 3:46 pm

This delusional father is doing his son more harm than good. This is a perfect example of a frivolous lawsuit, and taxpayers in that district should be furious with the man because they will ultimately be saddled with the cost of defending it. Shame on him.

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