Foul Ball: America’s Favorite
Pastime Threatened By Frivolous Lawsuits

Spring training is here. And like the rest of society, America’s favorite pastime is being threatened by frivolous lawsuits. Here, from the files of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, are a few examples of recent baseball lawsuits that should make any fan want to cry foul:

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a pop fly!
On a sunny afternoon, Little League coaches moved their second baseman to fill in for an absent outfielder. The player lost a high fly in the sun and got hit in the eye, hauled the coaches into court and extracted a $25,000 settlement. According to the lawsuit, the coaches should have given the player fly-ball-in-the-sun instructions or flip-down sunglasses. ( Legal Time s, February 11, 2002)

Take me out to the ball game but please no bats or balls!
Part I
A spectator filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Braves claiming she suffered injuries when an outfielder tossed a ball into the crowd. Even a warning on the back of game tickets alerting fans to the risk of objects coming into the stands didn’t discourage this lawsuit. The Braves are now thinking of stopping the age-old tradition of players throwing game balls in to the stands as a way giving people souvenirs. ( Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 22, 2001)

Part II
A Michigan Court of Appeals has overturned a six year-olds’s multi-million verdict against the Detroit Tigers. The youngster filed suit after suffering a hand injury when a splintered bat went into the stands. The court stated that the risk of being hit by a bat or ball is “well-known”. Also, “a baseball stadium owner is not liable for injuries to spectators that result from projectiles leaving the field during play if safety screening has been provided beyond home plate and there are a sufficient number of protected seats to meet ordinary demand.” ( National Law Journal, July 27, 2001)

“Anymore it seems that warnings carry no weight and others are expected to assume absolute liability regardless of who is at fault for the injury,” said Jon Opelt, Houston director of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

2500 City West Boulevard, Suite 300 • Houston, Texas 77042
E-mail: sosueme@ • Administrative: (713) 267-2302 • Fax: (713) 267-2267