South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Baseball Fans Due Some Protection Against Foul Balls
Description Appeals court held that the operator of a ballpark must protect fans against the likelihood of being hit by foul balls in areas where the risk of being hit is particularly high. To fail to do so is to allow patrons to suffer an unreasonable risk of harm.
Topic Torts
Key Words Unreasonable Risk of Harm; Sports
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts As Reider walked up to the ticket booth at McNeese State University to attend a baseball game, she was hit in the face by a foul ball that caused serious injury. She sued the university for allowing an unreasonable risk of harm. The jury awarded her $485,000. The university appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. "There will be foul balls as long as there are baseball games. Ball park owners cannot be held legally responsible for every foul ball in common areas of the ball park. But, there are certain areas of a ball park where protection is required. Obviously, the area behind home plate must be protected from anticipated foul balls.... Another such area would be the main entrance ticket booth where people must go to purchase a ticket to enter the ball park to see the game. Thee is an unreasonable risk of harm, and an unreasonably dangerous condition, when patrons have to purchase their ticket at the main entrance ticket booth of the ball park along the third base line where one knows or should know, and can reasonably anticipate, numerous and errant foul balls." Because the university failed to protect patrons in that area, the jury's decision stands.

Citation State of Louisiana v. Reider, --- So.2d --- (2005 WL 545142, Ct. App., La., 2005)

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