Family of teen killed by falling basketball hoop files lawsuit

NOW: Family of teen killed by falling basketball hoop files lawsuit

The family of a 14-year-old boy killed by a basketball hoop and backboard in an indoor basketball court at his home, filed a lawsuit against 6 entities today.

Nolan Gerwels died after the incident on June 22nd. Court documents describe a gruesome scene at his Granger home. According to the lawsuit, he was showing his little sister how to play when the 260-pound, wall-mounted system, came loose and landed on him. His family rushed to his aid, lifting the system off of him. His mother performed CPR.

The Gerwels are now suing Dick's Sporting Goods, Goalsetter Systems, Century Builders and its owner and EW Construction and its owner.

The system that fell is made by Goalsetter Systems and sold by Dick's Sporting Goods. According to court documents, neither of the companies provided the proper hardware or instructions to mount the system. 

Century Builders constructed the home and hired EW Construction to install the basketball hoop and backboard. The lawsuit claims the two companies did not properly install the system. It says they used 2-inch lag bolts that did not go into sturdy studs or any solid wood structure, no wall anchors were used, and no chains or back-up safety systems were installed.

Century Builders responded to the lawsuit with the following statement:

In response to the complaint (cause number 71D07-1807-CT-000340) filed in St. Joseph County Court earlier today against DICK’S SPORTING GOODS, INC., GOALSETTER SYSTEMS, INC., d/b/a Escalade Sports, CENTURY BUILDERS, INC., JAMES Z. SIERADZKI, EW CONSTRUCTION INC., and ERIC WHITE d/b/a EW Construction, Century Builders has issued the following statement:

Century Builders expresses our deepest sympathy and prayers for the Gerwels family in the tragic loss of their son Nolan.

While we understand it’s natural to attempt to find meaning and assess blame for something so tragic, our hope is through the investigation process and resolution of the civil complaint against Century Builders, our differing views on how and why this happened, will fade away. Only the love and memories of a bright and good young man will remain. Again, our prayers will always be with Nolan and his grieving family.

In an industry where lawsuits are not uncommon, Century Builders which has operated for over forty years, has never been sued by someone for whom we’ve built a home. Therefore, a legal claim such as this one, is something new to us. But we trust good people and a fair legal system will ultimately produce a fair result.

As this legal process plays out, we will have no additional comment. We ask only for your help in praying for the Gerwels family.


The Sieradzki family

Owners, Century Builders

In a statement, the Gerwels said the following: 

"Today, the family of Nolan Gerwels filed a lawsuit against those responsible for causing Nolan's tragic death on June 22, 2018. Contrary to some news reports, Nolan did not die because of a freak accident.

Rather, as detailed in the Complaint, Nolan was killed by the reckless, willful, and wanton misconduct of the individual and corporate defendents named in the Complaint. The Gerwels family will never be the same due to this preventable tragedy.

While nothing will bring Nolan back, the Gerwels are determined to hold accountable all those responsible for Nolan's death and the suffering inflicted upon the family. Consequently, Nolan Gerwel's family will do all they can, including working with local and federal authorities, to ensure that this nightmare never happens to another family."

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