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Cardinals Immune From Flying Bat Injuries

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, September 04, 2009 11:56 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Broken Nose, Cardinals, Sports Injury, Fan Injury, Wooden Bats

Fans assume certain risks for injury when they attend a baseball game, this judge has ruled.

Crying Foul

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IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia commons/ Keyspan Park/ author: Wally Gobetz

You go to the game expecting to see some baseball, enjoy the sunshine, and maybe a hot dog. You don’t expect a bat in the face and a broken nose.

But that’s what happened to Gerard Elie in July, 2002.

A season-ticket holder, Elie went to a pregame warm-up between the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Cardinals’ New Jersey affiliate at Coney Island Keyspan Park.

Elie sat 15 feet from the third-base. His complaint says that a flying bat fractured his nose.

The player who threw the bat has been identified as outfielder, Joey Vandever, who was released by the Cardinals, two months before the suit was filed. He now works as a medical supply company sales rep.

How he threw the bat seems to be at issue.

Elie argued it was negligence, intentional, or reckless. Elie said he didn’t assume that risk when he attended the game. The Cardinals say he did.

The court has sided with the team.

Because the player was “horsing around” and not engaged in actual batting practice when the bat went flying does not relieve those in attendance of an assumed risk. Every baseball fan who attends a game assumes some risk of injury from foul balls or bats, said the judge.

In granting the St. Louis Cardinals, LLC summary judgment, Supreme Court Justice Mark I. Partnow held, "Among the dangers to which a baseball spectator has consented to is the danger that a loose baseball bat will strike a spectator and cause injury," he said (see Elie v. City of New York, 20244/03.)

Elie’s attorney, Dennis Matarangas of Bourhazos & Matarangas, says his client is a “true fan” who continues to attend Cyclones games.

The tort action against several other defendants, including the Cyclones, the City of New York and Vandever, remains ongoing, reports Law.com.

IB Partner, Greg Webb, reports that fragments from maple wood bats, have put fans in danger of injury. #


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