Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=4885434&page=1

Metal Bats at Issue in Little League Lawsuit
Family Sues, Pinning Son's Dehabilitating Brain Injury on Use of a Metal Bat

By EMILY FRIEDMAN
May 19, 2008

The family of a 14-year-old boy is suing a bat manufacturer, a Little League affiliate and a local retailer after a batted ball hit the boy and left him disabled. The suit alleges that all three entities were aware of the dangers of metal bats.

Steven Domalewski, who was 12 when the accident occurred in 2006, was pitching for his baseball team in Wayne, N.J., when a line drive hit him in the chest and sent him into cardiac arrest, causing him to stop breathing for as long as 20 minutes, according to a statement released by his family.

Having spent weeks in the hospital in a coma and on life support, the teen now has extensive brain injury because of the lack of oxygen in the aftermath of the accident. Steven is confined to a wheelchair and needs constant medical attention.

The Domalewski family is suing Hillerich & Bardsby, the parent company of Louisville Slugger, which manufacturers the kind of bat used in the accident. Also named are the local Sports Authority, where the bats are sold, and the New Jersey State Little League, which uses the bats. The family claims that all three were aware of the inherent dangers of the aluminum bats, according to the complaint obtained by ABCNEWS.com.

The lawyer for the Domalewski family, Ernest Fronzuto, said in a statement that the high-performance, metal bat used during the game "presented an unreasonable risk of injury" and didn't give Domalewski enough time to respond to the ball.

The bat manufacturer, however, disputes the claim, telling ABCNEWS.com that injuries like Steven's are not only rare but have occurred from thrown or pitched balls far more than from batted balls.

"We sympathize with Steven and his family, but our bat is not to blame for his injury," Hillerich & Bradsby said in a statement.

Calls to the Sport Authority were not immediate returned.

Stephen D. Keener, the president and CEO of Little League Baseball and Softball said in a statement that "it would not be appropriate for us to specifically comment" but "Little League stands by its safety record, and we continue to make the safety of all Little Leaguers our highest priority."

Metal Bats vs. Wooden Bats, Cost vs. Safety

Critics of metal bats — the Domalewski family included — argue that an "arms race" among bat manufacturers has increased the ball's speed off the bats and "changed the dynamics of the game" for the worse.

"Sadly, for many years, the bat manufacturers and youth baseball associations have been aware that these aluminum bats are unreasonably unsafe, yet they have engaged in a business practice that has put profits ahead of safety," Fronzuto said.

Aluminum bats, while more expensive than wood bats, last longer, some sports experts argue, which leads to the leagues resistance to ban them.

"The actual cost of a wooden bat is less expensive but they break," said Stephen Ross, professor of sports law at the Penn State Institute for Sports Law Policy and Research. "The actual cost of equipment over a season for a little league is so significant that the administrators prefer to use the metal bats.

"You end up with this public interest question — safety versus cost," Ross told ABCNEWS.com. "On the side of safety you have the wooden bat manufacturers who would love to have laws abolishing metal bats so they can sell more of their product, and on the side of cost you have the aluminum bat manufacturers who don't want to go out of business."

Should Metal Bats Be Banned?

So far only New York City and North Dakota have banned metal bans from youth and school sports, and states such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania voted against the ban. New Jersey is researching a possible ban, according to The Associated Press.

But sports experts aren't entirely convinced that banning metal bats is the only way to prevent tragedies like Domalewski's from happening again.

Jeffrey Standen, a professor of sports law at Willamette University in Oregon, told ABCNEWS.com that young players could wear heart guards, face masks or the leagues could make the field larger to give the kids more time to react to fast hit balls.

"[Metal bats] are OK on a properly sized field with kids who are prepared to play the position they're assigned," said Standen, who added that studies of aluminum bats do show them to have a bigger "sweet spot' than wood bats and do tend to give players more and further hits.

But there's no clear evidence that metal bats cause more serious injuries than wooden bats. When it comes to litigation, Standen said juries usually consider the assumption of risk by one who participates.

"In the world of sports law, there's always been a long-standing doctrine of the assumption of risk," Standen said. "The risks of being hit by a batted ball are pretty obvious."

In the end, though, Standen says that it may be the want for a good, exciting baseball game — not sympathy for those injured — that prevails in court.

"Frankly, everyone likes an offensive game," Standen said. "There's no question that you see more base hits and more action on the field [using metal bats].

"Part of it is that we want to ban the bats but not when they're in our kids hands."
I could see this being an issue maybe, maybe if he was in the stands. But he was the pitcher!

We should stop child athletes from eating healthy food too. And exercising. Such activities are only going to make the child stronger, and thus hit the ball harder.
 

Tanooki

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

I thought this was going to be a metaphor about suing gun makers. Kinda funny - really sad.
 

garublador

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

If they're so against the metal bats, why did they let their kid play in the first place? Using a baseball instead of a tennis ball is siginifcantly more dangerous, too? Why aren't they mad about that part?

I doubt this is how the legal system works, but to me it would make sense that you'd have to prove that he wouldn't have gotten the injury if a different bat were used.
 

mince pies

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

I doubt this is how the legal system works, but to me it would make sense that you'd have to prove that he wouldn't have gotten the injury if a different bat were used.
Lol, what are you suggesting? That the boy get hit again by another ball with a different type of bat? :tongue:
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

I doubt this is how the legal system works, but to me it would make sense that you'd have to prove that he wouldn't have gotten the injury if a different bat were used.
Actually that's a fairly accurate guess at what must be proven. One of the elements of any tort claim is causation. The plaintiffs must show that it was the use of the metal bat that was the proximate cause of the boy's injury.



 
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

Well, I can't support it; it's kind of silly, isn't it? And yet, I can understand a family trying to find someone, anyone, to blame--and maybe assist with medical bills--for such a freak accident.
 

buttershug

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

Was it the families decision to sue, or an insurance company's decision?
 

Amra

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

causing him to stop breathing for as long as 20 minutes
I am curious if CPR was done during that 20 minutes.

I also wonder if coaches, umpires, and such are required to know CPR. I would think that would be a good idea for any school sport.
 

buttershug

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

An insurance company can make that decision for a family?

You've never read one of the stories where a kid sues their parents? It's because of the insurance companies.

Basically as I understand it the insurance company will only pay up based on a court case.

edit maybe not so much make the decision as much as require it.



 

Jaelen

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

You've never read one of the stories where a kid sues their parents? It's because of the insurance companies.

Basically as I understand it the insurance company will only pay up based on a court case.

edit maybe not so much make the decision as much as require it.
This is pretty common in third party liability cases, such as auto accidents and workers comp. The insurance company tells the attorney how much they are out and the attorney includes that in the settlement. AFAIK though, very few to no insurance companies would request that sort of subrogation from a sports injury.


 

garublador

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

Lol, what are you suggesting? That the boy get hit again by another ball with a different type of bat? :tongue:
No, just that they'd have to prove that had the ball been hit with a wooden bat he woudln't have had the exact same injury. My point is that will be nearly impossible to prove. You'd have to show the difference in speeds of the ball off the bat and whether the difference would have meant anything.

I figured they'd just have to prove that the metal bats were "too dangerous" and that all the people they are suing knew that but used them anyway. The article makes it sound like the information needed to show even that doesn't exist.

If the difference in danger between a wooden and metal bat is about the same as the difference between a little 12 year old and a bigger 12 year old then it seems pretty silly to sue because of the bat. Standing in front of someone trying to hit a ball a couple hundred feet seems obviously dangerous to me, though. His parents could have greatly reduced the chance of that happening by not letting him play.



 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

What's the name of that condition where you get hit in the chest between heartbeats and you get a heart attack?
 

whitey

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

More greedy *** Americans suing someone because of their own stupidity or just a freak accident. The only thing this family should be suing for is the little league not using metal bats anymore, that is the only thing I could understand. Trying to get money out of a freak accident during a sports game? greedy as hell. It's like when someone dies during a risky operation and the family immediately sues the doctor. To me they don't even care about their family member, all they see is a chance to get more money. **** happens, deal with it and move on. This kind of crap should be thrown out of court.
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

More greedy *** Americans suing someone because of their own stupidity or just a freak accident.
What does them being American have to do with it?

To me they don't even care about their family member, all they see is a chance to get more money.
I'd bet every single thing I own of value that if the parents could have their child back to how he was before the accident but not get any money, they'd do it in a heartbeat.

I'd even give you 10 to 1 odds.



 

Thelioness

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

My guess is that they are suing because they need money to pay for his future medical needs. Granted I think that this was a freak accident and not the responsibility of the bat manufacturer or the sporting goods store. If anything, there should have been someone there that was trained in CPR so the kid wouldn't have been deprived of oxygen for 20 minutes.
 

LunarSolaris

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

Definitely a tragedy. I can understand a grieving family wanting to assess blame to someone. Unfortunately grief often makes for misguides pursuits - which I think is the case here.

It was a freak accident, and it's very tragic. However, the bat manufacturer (and store) are not to blame in my opinion.
 

garublador

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

I'd bet every single thing I own of value that if the parents could have their child back to how he was before the accident but not get any money, they'd do it in a heartbeat.

I'd even give you 10 to 1 odds.
Don't take this bet. If he had the ability to increase the value of everything he owns by ten times he'd have done it already. There's no way you'll get ten times everything he owns if he's wrong. ;)

I'll guess that AJ is right, though.



 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

Don't take this bet. If he had the ability to increase the value of everything he owns by ten times he'd have done it already. There's no way you'll get ten times everything he owns if he's wrong. ;)
Shhh!

I read another article on it, and there were some people about 90 seconds away (I think) that gave CPR. I, too, am a little confused as to why they say he went 15-20 minutes without oxygen if he did get CPR.

I know there has been some changes made in the proper way to do CPR - more focused on chest compressions and less focus on rescue breathing. No point in putting oxygen in the blood stream if you're not manually pumping it around.



 

trashX

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Hit by a batted ball? Sue the maker of the bat!

**** happens, deal with it and move on..
I hope you or someone in your family is in that kids condition one day
wonder if you can still say **** happens and then move on


 
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