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Premises Liability – Softball Field – Player Struck In Head
Closed head injury
The plaintiff, a participant in a softball game, was sitting on the players’ bench by the third base line when he was hit in the head by a foul ball.
As a result, the plaintiff sustained serious personal injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.
The plaintiff brought an action against the owner of the field alleging negligent design and maintenance of the field. Evidence showed that shortly before the plaintiff’s accident, home plate had been moved back approximately 2 to 4 feet to make it more difficult to hit home runs.
The defendant denied negligence and asserted charitable immunity and the recreational use statute as defenses. However, the plaintiff was able to show that the players paid a small fee to the league and that the league in turn used some of this money to pay the defendant for the use of the field. The plaintiff argued that the activities involved in the softball league were not within the defendant’s charitable purpose and that, because of alleged corporate irregularities and alcohol licensing violations, the defendant could not rely on its charitable charter to immunize it from liability.
The case settled for the $300,000 policy limits available under the defendant’s liability insurance.