Baseball, Fan Injuries, and The Law

As an avid Phillies fan, I'm excited about the 2011 season which starts in less than a month. But it got me thinking about the doctrine of assumption of risk and how it relates to fans who are injured at the ballpark by a bat or ball. I thought I'd share a true story that made me laugh although I did admire the creativity of the injured fan's attorney. A woman was attending a baseball game. She was seated along the 3rd base line in the first row directly behind the dugout. During the game, a player hit a foul ball that struck the woman in the head and caused her to lose consciousness. Although the woman testified that she was aware that there's a danger of being hit by a foul ball or even a bat, she claimed that she was distracted by the San Diego Chicken who was performing nearby. One of the questions she was asked was whether she understood that the game was not going to be stopped while she was watching the Chicken. She of course answered "yes." In ruling against her, the Court noted that the fact that the Chicken appeared during the game did not absolve her from her duty to protect herself from the dangers inherent in the game of baseball. By the way, the fan also sued the Chicken!

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