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Published On: Wed, Apr 12th, 2017

Braves Settle Lawsuit Over Foul Ball Injury

The Atlanta Braves have reached a settlement in a lawsuit involving a six-year-old girl who was injured by a foul ball at a game. The girl’s skull was shattered by the ball.

The suit was filed by Fred Fletcher, the girl’s father, in 2012. Mr. Fletcher was sitting with his daughter behind the dugout at Turner Field in 2010 when Melky Cabrera, Braves outfielder, hit a foul ball that hit the young girl in the head. Her skull was fractured in 30 places and caused traumatic brain injury.

Mr. Fletcher named Major League Baseball as a defendant, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, and asked the league to turn over documents of steroid use by its players. The personal injury attorneys requested the documents on steroid use to show the jury that use of the drug causes players to hit balls harder and give fans less time to react.

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

The terms of the settlement, which is still pending a judge’s final approval, are confidential, a court filing in Fulton County State Court reveals. The recent court filing asks the judge to approve an irrevocable trust and the settlement. The fund will manage the girl’s funds. Her injuries have amassed $66,439 in medical costs.

The settlement would put an end to years of litigation.

The Braves had sought to have the case dismissed by trying to convince the courts to recognize the “Baseball Rule.” Under this rule – recognized in other states, but not Georgia – the stadium operator is not responsible for balls and bats that hit and hurt people if: adequate screening is provided behind the home plate; and there are enough seats for spectators.

The courts declined to accept the rule as law, and allowed the case to move forward.

The MLB and the Braves argued that the girl’s injury was not foreseeable and they were not negligent.

Mr. Fletcher’s lawyer, Mike Moran, said in previous court filings that the MLB and the Braves were both liable for the young girl’s injury due to their failure to erect a safety netting despite knowing the dangers to fans. Moran also pointed out that the union asked the MLB to extend the netting further to provide fans with more protection, but the league rejected the proposal.

The Braves announced in February that it would extend the netting to the far end of both dugouts at its new home stadium, SunTrust Park. A spokeswoman for the Braves said the team’s decision to expand the netting was not related to the foul ball lawsuit.

This isn’t the first time the league has been sued over an injury at Turner Stadium. In August 2016, a man sued the MLB after tumbling over a railing and falling to his death. The man fell from the upper deck to the concrete flooring on the first level.

The victim’s family sued the league, claiming that his death could have been prevented if higher guard rails were installed. The man was the third to have died at the stadium since 2008.

Author: Jacob Maslow

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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