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Justices end suit against Gary Railcats over foul-ball injury

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A fan who suffered fractured facial bones and was blinded in one eye after she was struck by a foul ball at a Gary SouthShore Railcats baseball game may not proceed with a lawsuit against the team, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Justices reversed Lake Superior Judge Calvin Hawkins’ denial of a motion for summary judgment sought by the team. Hawkins granted the team’s request for an interlocutory appeal.

The ruling in  South Shore Baseball, LLC d/b/a Gary South Shore RailCats and Northwest Sports Venture, LLC v. Juanita DeJesus, 45S03-1308-CT-531, puts an end to litigation stemming from DeJesus’ injury that happened more than five years ago.

Justice Mark Massa wrote in a unanimous opinion that the court declined to find a special limited duty beyond the principles of premises liability that govern stadiums and franchises.

The court noted that the ticket, printed notices at the stadium and an announcer’s admonition to fans all alerted them that objects would leave the field of play.

The court’s ruling aligns with a prior Court of Appeals ruling that also found judgment in favor of the team was proper, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s contemporaneous ruling in Pfenning v. Lineman, 947 N.E.2d 392 (Ind. 2011). There, the court ordered judgment in favor of a golf course after a woman driving a golf cart suffered injuries when she was struck in the face by a flying golf ball.

While finding for the team, the court declined amicus Indianapolis Indians’ request that the court adopt the so-called “Baseball Rule,” which generally states that baseball teams and ballparks that provide screening behind home plate have satisfied liability duties. DeJesus’ injury came as she sat in the stands just outside the protective screening behind home plate.

DeJesus’ claim fails as a matter of law, Massa wrote, “because she does not allege an increased risk of harm and cannot establish reliance. In her deposition, DeJesus testified she had seen foul balls enter the stands at RailCats games before. She even admitted she knew, when she was sitting in her seat, “there could be a chance that the ball could come that way.”


 

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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