Barton v. North Slope Borough School DistrictAnnotate this Case
In 2007, Plaintiff Helen Barton was injured while watching a high school football game in Barrow when a player ran out of bounds during a play and collided with her, breaking her leg. Plaintiff sued the North Slope Borough School District, alleging in part that the football field had not been designed or built with a proper "run-off" area along the sidelines and that spectators had improperly been allowed to stand in the run-off area during the game. Plaintiff retained expert landscape architect Juliet Vong who proposed to testify that she used a particular manual in designing sports fields "to help ensure the appropriate dimensions and design criteria are met for a given sport and level of play." The School District filed a motion in limine to exclude Vong's testimony because it did not provide an admissible expert opinion. The superior court agreed with the District and excluded Vong's report and testimony. At a jury trial in August 2010, the District was found not negligent. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the superior court should not have excluded Vong's testimony and that doing so was prejudicial to Plaintiff's case. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that although it was error to exclude Vong’s testimony, the error was harmless.