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Youth football suit won’t see trial for a while

Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 15, 2015 at 2:43 PM

A lawsuit filed in June 2013 against Tennessee Youth Football Alliance, Lebanon Football and Cheer, Lebanon Football’s founder and a coach has since made some progress through the court system but won’t be heard any time soon, according to an attorney representing Lebanon Football and Cheer.

“It's working through its normal course at this point,” said attorney Byron Gill with Lebanon-based Rochelle, McCullough and Aulds. “There have been some questions and answers and discovery since the original complaint was filed.”

Luke Giles’ parents, Christopher and Jenifer Giles, filed the suit in Williamson County circuit court and asked for a jury trial. According to the suit, the Giles claim their son suffered a “transverse fracture to the right femur, fracture to the right tibia, a dislocated hip and other serious, permanent and disabling painful injuries, proximately resulting in and caused by the negligence, gross negligence and recklessness of the defendants.”

The lawsuit claims the blow to Luke Giles causing the injuries came from Nathan Harris, who was “an ineligible, illegal player for Lebanon.”

The suit lists Mario Jennings, 2012 head coach of the AAA Lebanon Blue Devils, and former Tennessee Titans player Mike Jones, founder of Lebanon Football and Cheer, as defendants.

According to the suit, Luke Giles suffered the injuries during a Nov. 3, 2012 game between Lebanon and the AAA Grassland Golden Eagles, of which Giles was a member.

The suit alleges Harris was a “starting linebacker for the varsity Southside Middle School team and was allowed to play for the Lebanon AAA recreational league team.” The suit also alleges Jennings recruited Harris and other middle school players to play for the Lebanon recreational team, which would make them ineligible, according to league rules.

“The answer to the complaint denies any wrongdoing,” Gill said. “It’s unfortunate the young man got hurt, but that is the nature of the sport. There are waivers and things like that parents sign.”

Gill said before the suit makes it to jury selection, depositions would need to take place.

“There are a lot of parties involved, so it’s going to take some time,” Gill said.

Gill said Lebanon Football and Cheer maintains it didn’t do anything wrong.

“This is a volunteer organization,” Gill said. “The people are willing to give their time to help young people in the sport.

“There is just an inherent danger with the sport. With concussions and things like that in the media recently, it’s hard for the league not to get a bad rap.

“They certainly try to do their best. It’s unfortunate for the kid’s injury, but they are certainly denying they did anything wrong in the situation.”

The suit asks for compensatory damages sustained from Luke Giles’ injuries, along with punitive damages.

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