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Court Rules Fan Cannot Hold Boston Red Sox Responsible for Injuries From Foul Ball

Should a spectator who goes to a baseball game know enough about the dangers of getting hit by a foul ball to take precautions, or...
June 15, 2004

Should a spectator who goes to a baseball game know enough about the dangers of getting hit by a foul ball to take precautions, or does the owner of the ballpark have a responsibility to warn fans?  In a case in Boston, a court has ruled in favor of the ballpark.

The spectator, was struck in the face by a foul ball hit by Red Sox outfielder Darrin Lewis causing severe, permanent injuries. She sued the Red Sox, saying because of her ignorance of baseball, she was entitled to an adequate warning of the dangers of sitting in an unprotected location - she was in an unscreened area in the upper box section -- so that she could have made an informed choice whether to remain there. She acknowledged the existence of a disclaimer printed on her admission ticket but maintains that she did not look at the ticket and that, in any event, the disclaimer was not adequate to discharge the defendant's duty to warn, particularly since the print was extremely small.

Massachusetts Appeals Court in Jane Costa vs. The Boston Red Sox Baseball Club, affirmed that the landowner, the Red Sox, did not owe her a duty to warn of the dangers that would be obvious to persons of average intelligence.

Spectator Injured by Foul Ball Strikes Out at Fenway (Insurance Journal 6/14/04)

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