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Court Rules Against Fan in New York State Foul-Ball Case

New York Yankees

A state appeals court has issued a ruling against Andrew Zlotnick, who previously filed a lawsuit after being severely injured by a foul ball at a New York Yankees game.

On August 25, 2011, Zlotnick was injured when he was struck by a foul ball while attending a game at Yankee Stadium and ultimately required surgery to repair his eye socket. He would later file a lawsuit against the Yankees and Major League Baseball, only for a Bronx judge to dismiss the case. Zlotnick had since been pursuing a ruling that would reinstate his negligence lawsuit while rolling back the “Baseball Rule“–a stipulation that fans assume risk of injury when attending a game.

Zlotnick and his attorney had contended that the “Baseball Rule” is out of date. However, a New York State Appeals Court in Manhattan has issued its ruling in the case, with the result a decision against Zlotnick. More from Bloomberg:

Zlotnick called Tuesday’s ruling “very disappointing.” He said he’ll discuss the case with his lawyer before deciding whether to appeal to the state’s highest court.

According to the Baseball Rule, ballpark owners need only provide screening behind home plate, with enough room for fans who choose to sit there. Anyone outside the screened area — along the baselines, behind the dugout or in the outfield — is considered to have assumed the risk of injury from foul balls, errant throws and broken bats, Roger Abrams, an expert on sports law at Northeastern University School of Law, said earlier this month.

In a four-paragraph ruling, the appeals court panel applied the rule and rejected Zlotnick’s argument that it shouldn’t apply because his view of the game was blocked by umbrellas.

Discussions over extended netting at ballparks have been unfolding for several years, but the level of protection provided to fans by the Yankees and many other teams has further come into question since a young fan was severely injured by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium in September. In the time since that injury, the Yankees have been one of several teams to announce that they will extend protective netting for the 2018 season.

RELATED STORIES: Red Sox Proposing New Fenway Park Seating–But No Word on Protective NettingMilwaukee Brewers to Extend Netting in 2018Yankees to Install Extended Netting for 2018;  Tigers, Cubs Extending Ballpark Netting for 2018Blue Jays to Reevaluate Rogers Centre NettingYankees Under New Pressure to Extend NettingAt Least Three MLB Teams Extending Netting for 2018Fan Struck by Foul Ball at Yankee StadiumManfred: MLB-Wide Policy on Netting a ChallengeNew Citi Field Netting Brings Praises, Curses From Mets Fans

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