Attorney Carla Varriale: Court in Bat Case Refused to Extend the Duty of Care

Sports Law Attorney and Columbia University Professor, Carla Varriale, has written a fantastic article discussing the famous broken bat case entitled: “Court in Bat Case Refused to Extend the Duty of Care?”  Here is an excerpt, but for the entire article please go to the  link provided below.

A lawsuit filed by James G. Falzon and dismissed this week took aim at the alleged increased hazards presented to spectators by maple bats (versus traditional ash bats) and the team’s and league’s alleged notice of the alleged enhanced danger. Falzon v. Major League Baseball Enterprises, Sterling Mets L.P., Ramon Castro and Louis Castillo made arguments typical in cases resulting from spectators struck by projectiles, but it also relied, in part, on purported MLB-commissioned studies of the dangers presented by maple bats. Falzon also argued that the players Ramon Castro and Luis Castillo were not careful enough in inspecting and maintaining the offending bat.

New York is a “limited duty of care” state. The limited duty of care is a unique legal duty that protects owners and operators of baseball stadiums from liability for spectator injuries caused by errant baseballs, bats and even promotional items that may enter the stands during a baseball game. The limited duty of care is satisfied when an owner or operator establishes that the requisite protected area was provided behind home plate (as it was in the Falzon case, although Falzon and his family conceded that they were not sitting in the protected area and that they did they request seats in that area). Moreover, announcements and the language on the back of the ticket warn spectators about the possibility of bats and bat fragments (maple or otherwise) entering the stands.

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