A lawsuit that sought to force Major League Baseball teams to install netting from foul pole to foul pole has been dismissed in federal court, as U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that the likelihood of injury was so small it did not merit class-action status.
The lawsuit filed by Oakland A’s fan Gail Payne and Los Angeles Dodgers fan Stephanie Smith had been whittled down in court proceeds this year, with the remaining claim that fear of injury at the Oakland Coliseum and Dodger Stadium should force the Dodgers and Athletics to make netting changes. But after reviewing new research, Gonzalez Rogers dismissed the case, partly on the merits and partly on the lack of standing from the plaintiffs. From Courthouse News:
In April, Gonzalez Rogers dismissed claims against out-of-state baseball clubs but ordered jurisdictional discovery on the likelihood of being injured while sitting in certain sections of the Coliseum and Dodger Stadium before ruling on both plaintiffs’ requests for the netting and Smith’s personal injury claim.
With statistics in hand, Gonzalez Rogers dismissed Payne’s claims in her Wednesday order, finding she hadn’t established injury in fact – Payne hadn’t been injured at an A’s game at the Coliseum, and she planned to attend future games there.
The judge added that Payne’s chances of being injured at the stadium are only 0.0027 percent, according to statistics the defendants gave the court.
“The likelihood that Payne will be injured by a foul ball or a bat while attending an A’s game at the Oakland Coliseum does not meet the threshold of ‘certainly impending,’” Gonzalez wrote in the 12-page order.
However, Payne and Smith might have lost the battle but won the war. Last December MLB announced efforts to expand netting at ballparks, and more than one MiLB announced expanded netting for the 2016 season, with more on the way for 2017.