We have another attorney willing to make a run at collecting money from injuries suffered as the result of a foul ball, this time in a lawsuit involving the Albuquerque Isotopes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and Isotopes Park.
Shirley Saccoccia and her attorney, Scott Voorhees, are arguing that the Isotopes were negligent in not providing enough netting down the third-base line, and that this negligence caused her to be injured when she took her eyes off the game to eat popcorn. Unlike most lawsuits filed over this issue, Voorhees is arguing that the team had a duty to warn that seats down the third-base line were also more dangerous than other seats in the ballparks, and the failure to warn of this additional danger was negligible. From the Santa Fe New Mexican:
The baseball club breached that duty in “negligent ways,” the lawsuit alleges, including “failing to erect protective screening to prevent baseballs from entering the seating area” and “failing to warn attendees of baseball games of the danger of sitting along the third base line where there is a higher likelihood of being struck by a baseball.”
At the August 2014 baseball game, Saccoccia was “in the process of putting some pieces of popcorn in her mouth when her hand was violently struck by a ball that had been batted into the seating area,” the lawsuit says. She received “painful injuries to her hand.”…
Saccocia is asking a state district judge in Santa Fe enter a judgment against the triple-A baseball club to pay her for past and future medical expenses, loss of household services, loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life, and for “pain and suffering, past and future, in an amount to be determined at trial.”
In general, state and federal courts have rejected these arguments, saying that the potential dangers of attending a baseball game are well known and that professional teams, through warnings on tickets and on ballpark signage, provide adequate warning. Legally, MLB and MiLB rely on the language on the back of tickets and on signs throughout the ballpark saying that fans assume all risk when they enter the ballpark. Though the language has been challenged over the years, in the end it’s been upheld, even in cases where patrons have been struck by a baseball on the concourse and away from the action. And while expanded netting has been on the MLB agenda for many years (with MiLB teams also expanding their ballpark netting), its not been mandated by Commissioner Rob Manfred.
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