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Woman hit by foul ball strikes out at Court of Appeals

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A baseball organization in Lake County is not liable for the injuries a fan suffered when she was hit in the face by a foul ball during a game, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

Juanita DeJesus suffered fractured bones in her face and blindness in her left eye after being hit by a pop-up foul ball during the opening day Gary South Shore Railcats baseball game. She was a fan of the Railcats and had attended numerous games before she was injured in May 2009. She also admitted she had read signs and the back of her ticket warning her of the risk of balls leaving the playing field and entering the stands.

She sued the baseball team and Northwest Sports Venture LLC, which is the former name of South Shore Baseball LLC, alleging they were liable for her injuries under a theory of premises liability and for negligently failing to place protective screening continuously from first to third base.

The trial court denied the defendants’ request for summary judgment. On interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed in South Shore Baseball, LLC d/b/a Gary South Shore Railcats, and Northwest Sports Venture, LLC v. Juanita DeJesus, 45A03-1205-CT-222.

“… we conclude that, as a matter of law, Appellants cannot be held liable to DeJesus under a theory of premises liability because the risk of getting hit by a foul ball at a baseball game does not amount to an unreasonable risk of harm. Again, it is common knowledge that foul balls may leave the field of play and enter the stands and ‘one who attends a baseball game as a spectator can properly be charged with anticipating as inherent to baseball the risk of being struck by a foul ball while sitting in the stands during the course of a game,’” Judge Cale Bradford wrote, citing Pakett v. The Phillies, L.P., 871 A.2d 304, 308 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2005) and other cases dealing with this issue.

The judges also adopted the limited duty rule that other jurisdictions have set forth, which provides as a matter of law, an operator of a baseball stadium who provides screening behind home place sufficient to meet ordinary demand for protected seating has fulfilled its duty with respect to screening and cannot be subjected to liability for injuries resulting to a spectator by an object leaving the playing field.

Bradford noted that the Lake County baseball stadium had protective screening in front of the seats behind home plate, and DeJesus didn’t designate evidence that there weren’t enough seats behind the screening or that she was unable to buy seats behind that screen if she had chosen to do so the day she was injured.

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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