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Ashland man gets $45M award for paralysis from Knockerball

Ashland man gets $45M award for paralysis from Knockerball

July 16th, 2017 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

Sam Marshall, left, and Andrew Hopkins play Knockerball during the business' grand opening Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 at Capital Mall in Jefferson City.

Photo by Shelby Kardell /News Tribune.

An Ashland man has been awarded nearly $45 million after a Cole County judge found a business at Capital Mall was liable for injuries he suffered that left him a quadriplegic for life.

According to court documents, Derek Hart, 25, was severely and permanently injured while playing at Knockerball Mid-MO on Dec. 23, 2016.

Knockerball, also called "bubble soccer," allows players of all ages to participate in a high-contact game cushioned by the inflatable plastic bubble surrounding them. The local franchise opened in summer 2015, renting out Knockerball equipment for community events and private parties. It opened at Capital Mall in November 2016.

Hart was taken to a hospital following his injury and there was diagnosed with a fracture and spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.

A review of damages showed Hart has sustained more than $19.6 million, primarily in medical expenses, due to his injury.

Both parties in this lawsuit agreed to waive a trial by jury and have Judge Jon Beetem hear arguments and make a ruling. While Hart's lawyers did present evidence, attorneys for Knockerball Mid-MO did not present evidence and the judge took the case under advisement.

Beetem found Knockerball and its legal representatives failed to file a timely answer or respond to the lawsuit in anyway.

Hart has another lawsuit regarding his injuries still pending in court. Capital Mall and Knocker Ball USA are among the defendants in that case.