Woman sues little leaguer for getting hit with baseball..


Short summary: 11 year old kid warming up in the bullpen uncorks a wild pitch that hits this woman in the face. She sues him for $150k

As most of you know I’m in law school. Isn’t this Torts 101 no duty, assumption of risk. Dismissed. Plus sanctions against the attorney who filed it?

Not a lawyer.

Proper defendant, or at least a more appropriate co-defendant would be the coach/park official.

Assumption of risk would depend on where she was. In the bleachers vs. wandering aimlessly near warming-up players.

Sanctions against plaintiff attorney? Unlikely, but it would depend on just how frivilous and groundless the suit was–and F&G has a pretty tough standard.

What lawsuits are out there are generally against stadium owners, not players. Typically, stadium owners have been shielded from liability as long as they put up some screens in the areas most likely to be hit by a foul ball. A recent decision in New Mexico applied a more general negligence standard, however, i a case involving a plaintiff sitting in a picnic area adjoining the ballpark. The fact that the picnic area was set up with seats facing away from the diamond was arguably significant. Had this plaintiff sued the ballpark owner, ther might be a case, although the NM decision is an outlier.

A case against a player seems even tougher. Even exercising due care, wild pitches are going to happen, and the law will be even more forgiving when the pitcher is a child. If the plaintiff has some evidence of intentional horseplay among the pitchers, then maybe there’s a case, but if this was just an accident that occurred during a normal warmup, I think it would be hard to win.

The lawsuit alleges the kid purposely hit her with the wild pitch. If that can be proven, I don’t see why the plaintiff wouldn’t have a case even if they were at a ball park.

I realize the plaintiffs aren’t suing the league because the league doesn’t have any insurance to cover this, but it would seem to me that if the league had setup stands right behind the bullpen in such a way that a wild pitch had a decent chance of hitting someone, then I can see where there would be a case against the league.

After learning about the infamous McDonald’s coffee case, I have since learned that no case is as obvious as they appear.

But she has to plead facts with particularity. In other words, she can’t simply make a conclusory statement that he hit her with a baseball intentionally. She has to allege some fact to show his intent. (Admittedly this wouldn’t take much and could even be an outright lie).

IOW, I can’t sue you claiming that your right hand touched my shoulder and therefore I accuse you of battery. Battery requires that I give some type of showing or inference that you intentionally touched my right shoulder and it was in a harmful or offensive manner.

I think there was a decision in Pittsburgh from old Three Rivers Stadium when a patron was hit in the concourse area at the concession stand (I guess it was a freak foul ball that hit a seat and careened under the overhang and rattled into the walkway). The judge ruled that a fan assumes a risk of getting hit with a ball in the stands, but not in the concourse.

But this is contrary to both of those cases. This woman was in the stands at a Little League game. Even if the kids were goofing off, I would contend that a reasonable fan should know that little kids do that and she still assumed the risk.

You have much to learn, grasshopper.


The kid is eleven years old. FFS.

Key words. Dude, I’m all like so get with the 21st century. Frivolous lawsuits and non-accountability are all the rage. Go for the free money! The courts are such a joke you stand a good chance. I’m disappointed she didn’t go for a cool mil. Amateur.

Fair enough. So educate me. Why aren’t sanctions appropriate for filing a lawsuit in bad faith? Against an 11 year old?

I only say this because this type of case was the first one in the Torts Hornbook regarding Assumption of Risk and No Duty.

IANAL, but I assume that she expects that the pitcher’s parents and ultimately their homeowners’ insurance company will be on the hook for the claim.

Why the pitcher? The catcher’s errant throw hit the woman.

Under which theory? If it is intentional conduct, insurance won’t pay. If it’s negligence they shouldn’t pay because of the assumption of risk argument.

Sorry for misidentifying the kid as a pitcher.

Again, IANAL, but if the kid’s actions were intentional and the insurance won’t pay, I assume that she expects the parents to do so.

If he hit her deliberately then it wasn’t a wild pitch … just sayin.:dubious:

Next post. Editing issues.

Its a newspaper report and newspaper reports generally are not reliable. In this case it seems iffy as per the facts stated that liability exists wrt to the player, possibly for the league and or stadium owner/occupier.

I would not be surprised if the suit itself has several defendants and the kid has been added simply as a pro forma party. That would be not uncommon.

Clearly there is a duty of care and certainly several persons had it. Assumption of risk is a factual issue here rather than a legal one.

I am a lawyer. Not an NJ qualified one.

That wasn’t really your original question. But, one, was she in the stands? It says she was at a picnic table. Is there a colorable claim that assumption of risk shouldn’t apply in this instance given facts? Probably. Enough to get by sanctions or even a summary judgment.

Two, as a practical matter, we don’t really file many motions for sanctions. That’s a good way to piss off the judge and have other lawyers gun for you. There, but for the grace of Og, go you.

Finally, I assume New Jersey allows a claimant to plead contradicting/alternative theories of recovery. The intentional claim is probably included to avoid dealing with the assumption of risk in an initial pleading. As you directly pointed out, the negligence claim is to get the insurance carrier involved. So, the carrier hires an attorney to defend the case. But, as you know, the attorney’s client calls the shots. The family doesn’t want to deal with the intentional conduct case alone without the insurance company footing the bill. So, it creates a divisive relationship. The attorney does not want to plead the client out of coverage. Therefore, no motion for sanctions or even, possibly a summary judgment is every pleaded.

Cost of defense settlement, maybe more if there’s a unique factual distinction to argue. This assumes there’s not some wacky twist to NJ liability or coverage law.

Sorry for editing issues. First paragraph should read, ‘or possibly even a motion for summary judgment.’

no that was at the concussion stand and that possibility should have been expected.