Suit by ex-Midway College student claims 'harm and damage' from April Fool's Day accident

gkocher1@herald-leader.comApril 3, 2014 

Midway college and its President William Drake, Jr, announce a major expansion that will double the size of the campus on friday September 24, 2004. Mark Cornelison/ Staff

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A former Midway College student says in a lawsuit that an April Fool's joke by a teacher led to a fall off a horse and a broken pelvis.

Amanda Wagner of Cincinnati seeks compensation for the "harm and damage" caused by negligence by the college and horse-riding instructor Mandy Alexander.

Midway College spokeswoman Ellen Gregory had no comment on the litigation. The college seeks dismissal of the suit in a response filed in Woodford County court records.

The suit says that on April 1, 2013, Wagner went to a horse-riding class taught by Alexander. In that morning's class, Alexander played an April Fool's joke "by requiring all students to either tell a joke, or in lieu thereof, ... (to) walk, trot and canter on their respective mounts without stirrups."

Wagner didn't know a joke, and she told Alexander that she had never cantered without stirrups "and that she did not feel comfortable attempting it." Nevertheless, Alexander told Wagner she either had to tell a joke or canter without stirrups, the suit says.

So Wagner got on a horse named Dutch. The lawsuit says she "had no problems holding her balance while she was walking, trotting and even cantering on Dutch."

Alexander signaled to Wagner that she "had done well enough and that she could stop."

When Wagner tried to stop, Dutch sped up instead. Alexander yelled that Wagner should "sit up tall" in the saddle.

Wagner followed that advice but the horse began to run even faster into a gallop. As Dutch rounded a turn close to a gate, Wagner fell off and onto the ground.

As a result of that fall, Wagner suffered a fractured pelvis and injuries to her lower back, the suit says.

The suit says Alexander "negligently instructed and supervised the plaintiff when she forced her to ride that morning without stirrups."

Furthermore, the suit says Midway College was negligent in "failing to promote politics which would have prevented" Wagner's injuries. The college was also negligent in its supervision of Alexander, the suit says.

Wagner alleges that she "has suffered, continues to suffer and will suffer in the future, mental and physical pain." She also has incurred and will continue to incur medical expenses, the lawsuit says.

Wagner has lost wages since the injury and her ability to earn money has been impaired, the lawsuit says.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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