Monday, April 05, 2010

Don't Forget to Sign . . . Your NGSL Liability Waiver?

Slow-pitch softball - as many of you will discover this weekend - can be serious business.  Just ask a Canadian outfielder who lost a fly ball in the sun:
George Black is a trucker who used to play in an Ontario slow-pitch league. In a 2004 game, a batter hit a looping line drive directly at him, which he lost in the setting sun.

So, who to sue? The batter who hit the ball that brained him? The manufacturer of the metal bat that sent the ball flying at him at an unsafe speed? Nope. Try the company that owns the field, because they didn't block the sun.

One might reasonably offer that if you're going to play the outfield in the early evening, you might want to wear sunglasses, or at least eye black. But a judge has refused to dismiss the case, because the company had considered erecting a sun screen before the accident.
The article goes on to note that the case has made it past whatever the Canadian equivalent of summary judgment is.

These are probably the sort of things that keep Comms'r Bouton up at night.  (Actually, in Virginia this case would likely fall under the rule of Thurmond v. Prince William Prof'l Baseball Club, 265 Va. 59 (Va. 2003), which held that "when a particular adult spectator of ordinary intelligence is familiar with the game of baseball, that spectator assumes the normal risks of watching a baseball game, including the danger of being hit by a [foul] ball batted into an unscreened seating area of a stadium."

Maybe it would be a good idea for LRW students to analyze the difference between a spectator and player, between a slow-pitch softball and a fast-pitch baseball, and between a foul ball and a pop-fly. 

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