Everyone going to a ball game knows the risks and the rewards of sitting up in the stands, specifically the fast flying baseballs being batted toward your seat. Sometimes a fan will get extremely lucky and, in the case of Cleveland Indians fan Greg Niel, leave the ballpark having caught four foul balls. On the other end there is a certain degree of danger simply being in those seats. The Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to review where liability may lie in the case of Juanita DeJesus who was struck in the face at a RailCats game by a high-flying pop-up foul ball.
The Gary South Shore Railcats won the latest appeal in the Indiana State Court of Appeals. The court concluded that there is an obvious well-known risk assumed by sitting in the stands of a baseball game that a ball could be hit at or toward you. This game took place on opening day, and the ball was hit by the second batter of the day. DeJesus suffered several broken bones in her face and the loss of sight in her left eye.
DeJesus’ attorney argued that the team and park were under the obligation to protect those in the stands from this foreseeable harm and that they failed to meet this obligation by not netting off the fans from the field. The Court of Appeals disagreed, having cited rulings in numerous other lawsuits based on similar grounds. It found no ruling that ever admitted a ballgame attendant could be ignorant of the risks. Furthermore, the appeals court highlighted that DeJesus was not only warned three times about the risks of a foul ball at the game but also noted that she attends games regularly and could have purchased different seats if she did not accept the well-known risk.