Outfielder Dustin Fowler has named the Chicago White Sox as one of the defendants in a lawsuit he has filed over an injury he suffered last season at Guaranteed Rate Field.
On June 29, Fowler–then a member of the New York Yankees–was visiting the White Sox in his first major league game when he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee when attempting to catch a foul ball in right field. The injury required surgery, and ultimately forced him to miss the remainder of the 2017 season.
On Friday, Fowler filed a lawsuit against the White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA)–the agency that manages Guaranteed Rate Field. Among Fowler’s claims are that the White Sox and ISFA did not properly secure an unpadded electrical box he collided with, and that the two parties failed to sufficiently inspect the box. More from The Chicago Sun-Times:
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, claims the White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority acted negligently by not securing the metal box or taking precautions to prevent players from colliding with it. In addition, the suit alleges the White Sox and Sports Facilities Authority failed to adequately inspect the right field wall and the box. The box was installed at knee-level “in a manner so as to create a hidden and undetectable hazard” to Fowler and other ballplayers, the suit alleges. By failing to properly pad, guard or cover the exposed box, the defendants showed “an utter indifference to or conscious disregard” for Fowler’s safety.
Both the Sox and the the agency knew of the unsafe condition and had ample time to improve them before the incident, the suit claims.
Representatives for the White Sox and the ISFA didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Fowler, traded to the Oakland Athletics in July, suffered “severe and permanent” internal and external injuries, as well as mental pain and anguish, according to the suit.
In addition, Fowler claims that he has had to spend “large sums of money” to cover medical expenses from the injury. Fowler had been one of the Yankees top prospects prior to his major league debut, and was later included by the Yankees in a trade that allowed them to acquire starting pitcher Sonny Gray from the Oakland A’s.