Jury Rules in Case of Injured Fan at Cleveland Indians Game

Jury Rules in Case

Major League Baseball claims to have stepped up efforts to reduce fan injuries from being hit by foul balls and broken baseball bats. Rob Manfred, league commissioner, urged teams to expand the implementation of safety netting along the areas close to the field. For some reason, even with the expanded safety precautions, it seems that the problem is escalating. A New York Daily News reporter recently expressed concern that the problem may not be fully addressed until there is a fatality. Many wonder if the number of incidents has actually risen, or if they are simply more widely reported because fans all have mobile devices taking photos and running video during these occurrences which circulate the internet.

Cleveland Indians 2017 Civil Appeal

While attending a 2012 game, Keith Rawlins claims that in the 9th inning an usher asked him to move to a different seating section in anticipation of requirements necessary for the post-game fireworks show. While relocating, he was struck in the face from a foul ball estimated to be traveling at 95 mph, leaving him injured and with vision loss in one eye. He was unable to continue to perform his job as a machinist following the injury. Major League Baseball has a long-standing position that fans assume the risk of being hit by flying balls and bats when attending games. The team stated that making an exception in Rawlins’ case would subject them to a potential wave of suits such as from distracted fans hit by foul balls while ordering food and beverages from the roving vendors. Having lost his initial case, Rawlins appealed; however, this jury in the Cuyahoga County Court found that the team was not responsible for the injury.

Colorado Law

The state enacted the CO Baseball Spectator Safety Act of 1993 for the following reasons:

  • Those attending Major League Baseball games subject themselves to the risks associated with being a spectator.
  • Pro baseball games provide a healthy, family-oriented activity which should be encouraged.
  • The state wishes to continue to promote business in general, and the community receives financial benefits from such events.
  • Owner of sporting venues and teams will be able to maintain more affordable ticket prices if shielded from civil liability.

The Act does not preclude a spectator from bringing actions against another spectator for injuries or property damage. The owners of the teams and the stadiums are required to make a reasonable effort to maintain the safety of the property conditions. Any intentional acts of injuring a spectator would not be protected from liability. Owners must post warning signs conspicuously alerting spectators of the inherent danger and risk of being struck by a ball or a bat.

The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has been “going to bat” for Colorado injury victims for many years. If you have incurred serious injuries from the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your hardship. To discuss the details of your case, contact us today at (303) 825-2223.

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