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San Diego Padres: Case By Case: Broken Baseball Bats

San Diego, California has a major league baseball team called the San Diego Padres. At the stadium, not all areas are protected from either a foulr ball or a hit ball. As such, it is important to understand the below facts if you attend baseball games. To minimize risk of injury, it is advisable to sit in seats which are adequately screened. You can view these seats on the link provided by the website to the Padres above. This ruling does not include football games and there is also the San Diego Chargers which have their stadium in San Diego as well.

A state court has overturned a $1 million jury verdict for a young girl who was injured when part of a broken bat struck her as she sat in the stands at a major league baseball game. The girl was seated behind a net that extended down the third base line, but the bat fragment curved around the net and hit her.

The girl argued that baseball officials were negligent in not having more protective screening for spectators. However, most courts apply a more lenient “limited-duty” rule to America’s Pastime and this court was no exception. The majority of baseball fans prefer to be close to the action, with no protective screen that would block their view and prevent the possibility of catching a batted ball. Baseball teams reasonably accommodate this majority of their consumers, while providing protected seats behind home plate for those more concerned with safety. Under the limited-duty rule, when a stadium owner has made adequately screened seats available for all those desiring them, it has fulfilled its duty as a matter of law and it will not be liable for spectators injured by an object from the field.

The girl also asserted that the stadium owner had a duty to warn spectators about projectiles from the field. The court rejected this basis for liability because the risk involved was already well known by spectators. As a general rule, there is no duty to warn of open and obvious dangers. Even so, the stadium owner in this case had warned the fans with an announcement, a notice on a video board, and fine print on the tickets. Making no distinction between a broken bat and a baseball, the court quoted the observation of another court that “[n]o one of ordinary intelligence could see many innings of the ordinary [baseball] league game without coming to a full realization that batters cannot and do not control the direction of the ball.”

If you have any questions about this legal matter, please contact our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP or e mail us.

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