Jury: Baseball bat manufacturer responsible for death by batted ball

yg17

macrumors G5
Original poster
Aug 1, 2004
14,937
2,571
St. Louis, MO
http://www.wave3.com/Global/story.asp?S=11404075

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Montana jury has found the maker of Louisville Slugger bats failed to adequately warn about the dangers its product can pose.
Hillerich and Bradsby has been ordered to pay $850,000 to the family of 18-year-old Brandon Patch. The teenager was killed during a 2003 baseball game after being struck in the head by a batted ball off an aluminum bat while pitching during an American Legion game in Helena, MT.
The Patch family argued aluminum bats are dangerous because they cause the ball to travel faster than those hit off wooden bats. They said Brandon did not have enough time to react after the ball was hit.
Although the jury did award the Patch family money saying that H&B failed to place warning labels on the aluminum bats, they also said the bat was not defective.
Ridiculous. This is what's wrong with our judicial system.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,323
15,395
America: Land of the retarded

Thats all this decision states. Seriously, you have to ****ing kidding me. How is the manufacturer responsible for this at all? Why does our legal system allow for this crap? :mad:
 

Tilpots

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2006
4,192
71
Carolina Beach, NC
Now Loiusville Sluggers also need to come with a warning about being cautious when beating somebody over the head with it.

"Using the bat as a weapon could cause serious injury."

Dumb.
 

Mousse

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2008
2,166
3,594
Flea Bottom, King's Landing
Baseball bats are dangerous?:eek::eek::eek: Who thought.:rolleyes: So did the kid who hit the ball get 20 years to life in prison?

Another case where I'd like to see a hung jury (not possible in a civil case), so just hang the jurors.:p
 

uberamd

macrumors 68030
May 26, 2009
2,785
0
Minnesota
This is absolutely insane. Are you freaking kidding me? Would the kid have even read the warning label on the bat? NO! My god.... I just died a little inside.
 

savoirfaire

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2003
325
25
New England
*sigh* This is where the system of "jury of one's peers" falls apart. It only works if one's peers meet some minimum level of intelligence. In this case, they clearly did not.
 

eawmp1

macrumors 601
Feb 19, 2008
4,139
13
FL
So no one has ever been killed by a ball hit off a wooden bat?
So the difference in veocity of a ball travelling off an aluminum bat is so much faster than the velocity of a ball hit off a wood bat?
So that difference in velocity over the same distace to the hit player results in such a time difference for human reflexes to react in an effectively defensive manner?

Righttttttt.......

I love the USA, where our motto is: "Accidents don't happen, the are caused by someone with more money!"
 

seb-opp

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2008
398
1
London/Norwich
Absolutely ridiculous. If he couldn't react in time, reading a warning label before hand won't make him react any quicker. There's obviously risks involved in sports, maybe it was down to him being not alert. Where's the common sense!!
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,776
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
It sounds like the company may not contest this... I can understand that, from a PR perspective and not wanting to put this family through more, but this really does set a bad precedent.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
This is sad. Yes it was tragic the kid died but still not going to help.

If something goes wrong sue. No one accept responsibility any more. I am surprised they did not sue the bases ball company, the league for allowing aluminum bats. It was a known fact aluminum bats hit balls farther than wooden ones.

Think of all the stupid warning labels like "do not iron clothing on body" sad they have to put that disclaimer in there because if you burn your self iron clothing on your own body it is not your fault.
Yes I have used an iron on something I was wearing to get a a few wrinkles out but at the same time I knew I was taking a risk of burning myself.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
And you just elegantly demonstrated why this warning label is there. Thank you.

Ahmed
No I haven't. It is called common sense. I knew full out and well that if I got burned doing the less than intelligent thing (as ironing my pants real quickly while they were on) that if I got burn at all it was 100% my fault.

In case you are wondering. I did not get burned and it worked out really well in the time crunch to get minor (and I man minor) wrinkles out. Every time I have done it I know it is not the smartest idea.

But still if I got burned not like I would try to sue because I know the common sense thing tells me that it is not a good idea.
 

eawmp1

macrumors 601
Feb 19, 2008
4,139
13
FL
What happened to common sense
"Le sens commun est fort rare."
Voltaire, "Common Sense," Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (1765)
The better known variant of this quote is "Common sense is not so common"

A car goes faster than a horse, and despite this advantage, kills more people.
Wooden bats are prone to breaking, sending sharp missiles through the air. Pass legislation to outlaw them, but don't accept that by not having a label the bat company is liable for this player's death.

Lawyers are always the last to admit absurdity.
 

AppleMatt

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2003
1,780
20
UK
1. Please don't cry "tort-reform" until you actually studied torts in law school.
1. No-one cried "tort-reform".
2. You have no idea who has studied what and to what level.

Warning labels become necessary the moment a manufacturer becomes aware of the fact that people would use the product for purposes other than what it was designed for.
But in this case, the bat was used for its designed purpose. So I'm not sure why you're using this to back your argument.

I would refuse to partake in game where alu bats were used.
But the deceased didn't refuse and, because he is dead, we cannot state what he did or did not know.

Any sport involves a risk of serious injury or death. Under UK law, by playing the sport you impliedly consent to such injuries, and even injuries outside of the rules but 'within the spirit' of the game.

AppleMatt
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
But the deceased didn't refuse.

Any sport involves a risk of serious injury or death. Under UK law, by playing the sport you impliedly consent to such injuries, and even injuries outside of the rules but 'within the spirit' of the game.

AppleMatt
Exactly.

Things that are common sense that people know.
1. Aluminum bats perform better than wooden bats.
2. Playing any sport has risk of serious injury or death.

From those 2 facts alone people should know there is risk. Lets also not forget that most people who have play baseball have heard stories of pictures getting hit in with the ball. Even a wooden bat can easily kill if it hit the picture in the head.

But this logic of this law suit almost puts it like it was the knee pads fault that my sister tore her ACL playing volleyball because it failed to warn that does not prevent that type of injury from happening.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
18,010
9,020
Colorado
This is absurd. While tragic that the young man died, it is certainly not the bat manufacturers fault. If anyone was to be sued, it should have been the league that allowed aluminum bats in the first place. But they didn't have deep pockets hence the lawsuit against the bat manufacturer.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,323
15,395
Look at the thread and think about it. How many people actually know, and I mean KNOW that alu bats create higher ball velocities? How many people can truly correctly correlate the higher ball velocity with how much their reaction time gets reduced? How many people truly understand how much more damage just a few mph can cause? I sure as hell didn't know until I read up about it. I would refuse to partake in game where alu bats were used.
Most people are shocked when they find out how much damage could have been avoided during an accident if they had just slowed down a little. No, most people don't understand it, and that is what warning labels are for and why they are necessary.
Cheers,

Ahmed
So the knowledge that aluminum bats make a ball go slightly faster somehow prevents someone from dying when hit in the head by a baseball?

Seriously, of course a ball being hit at someone is going to be dangerous, id bet it be just as dangerous being hit IN THE SKULL had it come off a wooden bat. If anything baseball players should just be wearing helmets.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
As I said, it was a gross oversimplification. The actual explanation is a lot more complicated than that and fills pages upon pages. I remember it because I had to quiz my wife on it while she was studying for the bar exam. It also applies when the use of the object could under specific circumstances have results different from what a reasonable person could expect. Here it would be that the ball moves significantly faster as if beaten by a wooden bat. And reasonable does not necessarily mean educated enough to understand kinetics.

but it been pointed out that a reasonable person knows that a aluminum bat performs better than a Wooden bat. This means that the risk of injury is greater. Stupid not to know that

True, but we can examine, per jury what a reasonable person could or could not know. Prior to the trial is a lengthly jury selection process during which each side has the opportunity to dismiss jurors they deem as biased or "unreasonable" if you will. And trust me, corporate lawyers are VERY good at this.

Yeah it boils down to if you a college degree you normally get thrown out. I sure as hell would be because my degree is in engineer and those people get thrown out all the time because they think differently. It is sad fact when you look at juries that they will not line up with the general public at all in degrees and education.


To the extent as they are within the limits of what a reasonable person could expect to happen. Sure, he was probably aware of the fact that he could ge seriously injured by the ball. But that the ball could be fast enough to kill him? I think not.
That is why you have the warning on rear view mirrors, because if you look in a mirror you don't necessarily think about the fact that the car behind you may be closer than what it looks like at first glance. I sure wouldn't. There are other examples I can give if you want.
Cheers,

Ahmed
Last one not in bold.

He knew he could get injured and death as an risk.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
Really? I didn't. And I am quite capable of common sense.

Then why are they used.

Ask the people who play why they used aluminum over wood. You will get the same answer time and time again. "I can hit the ball farther" or "bat is lighter"-which translated right into the fact "I can hit the ball farther"

Hitting the ball farther = better performance
those are common sense things.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
18,010
9,020
Colorado
I don't, off the top of my head recall any stories of people getting killed by balls in baseball. And I would bet that applies to the average parent that isn't really into the sport.
Here, let me help you out.

FoxNews.com said:
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The batting coach for the Tulsa Drillers was pronounced dead at a hospital Sunday evening after being struck in the head by a line drive as he stood in the first-base coach's box during a Texas League game with the Arkansas Travelers, police said.

Phil Elson, spokesman for the Travelers, said Coolbaugh was struck by the ball on the right side of his head, or on the forehead — "I'm getting conflicting reports" — and fell to the ground immediately.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,290335,00.html
 

uberamd

macrumors 68030
May 26, 2009
2,785
0
Minnesota
Sports are dangerous. You can die playing any sport, whether its football, baseball, golf, or bowling. S**t happens. The problem with the world is that everyone feels they need to get sue happy when something impacts them.

I bet if it had been someone else's kid, the parents would be bickering about how pointless this lawsuit is.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
18,010
9,020
Colorado
Don't know. I'm not bickering. And I am not even a parent. Sh*t happens when I break a leg or get a scratch. Death or disability though? I don't think so. Sh*t like that shouldn't happen.
Cheers,

Ahmed
Guess we should just ban baseball, huh? After all, balls hit off wooden and aluminum bats can cause death.
 

uberamd

macrumors 68030
May 26, 2009
2,785
0
Minnesota
Don't know. I'm not bickering. And I am not even a parent. Sh*t happens when I break a leg or get a scratch. Death or disability though? I don't think so. Sh*t like that shouldn't happen.
Cheers,

Ahmed
Any time high speed objects are moving around, there is a chance of death. Golf balls travel at incredibly high rates of speed off the club face, yet is there a disclaimer in large letters on the golf club? Should there be?

To me it just boils down to common sense. Solid objects being struck and propelled at high speeds can clearly cause serious injury or death (why on earth do the parents think batters wear helmets?). To not realize that is to be lacking common sense.
 

jzuena

macrumors 65816
Feb 21, 2007
1,042
70
Really? I didn't. And I am quite capable of common sense.
Have you ever lived in the USA and played or at least watched baseball?

Yes, but other players are not required by the rules to wear helmets. So my counter argument would be that I would assume there to be a lower risk of serious injury, otherwise field players and pitchers would be required to wear helmets. My understanding, after reading up about this topic in the last hour or so, is that under normal circumstances it is assumed the pitcher and the field players have enough time to evade a ball coming their way, hence no helmet required.
Players are not required to wear helmets, but coaches on the field are (see ucfgrad93's link above). And that is in professional leagues using only wooden bats, so the possibility of death should be known by someone who knows about baseball, regardless of the type of bat used.
 
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