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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. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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