Litigation and Little League: Part II

A New Jersey woman injured by an errant throw while watching a Little League game is suing the player who threw the ball.  The player, Matthew Migliaccio, was 11 years old when we was warming up with his pitcher.  One of his throws hit Elizabeth Lloyd, who was sitting at a picnic table near the bullpen.  The Associated Press, via USA Today, has the story.

Here are a few of the issues that quickly come to mind:

1.  Assumption of the Risk: spectators typically assume the known or common risks associated with a particular activity.  A common risk for a spectator at a baseball game is being hit with a baseball.  Lloyd has alleged that Migliaccio’s throw was “intentional and reckless” in an apparent effort to allege facts beyond those common risks of attending a baseball game.

2.  Insurance: the Associated Press reports that Migliaccio’s homeowner’s insurance is covering the negligence claim, but not the other claims alleged by Lloyd.  Why not?  Insurance typically does not cover claims of intentional conduct which appear to be alleged in Lloyd’s complaint.

3.  Other Parties: the article does not clearly indicate whether the league or the owner of field is a defendant in the lawsuit brought by Lloyd.  A plaintiff’s attorney will often include as many defendants as possible, looking for an insurance company that will provide coverage and working under the theory that it is easier to extract a settlement from multiple parties than a single party.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that an incident at a Little League game has resulted in litigation.  In August 2009, I wrote about a suit filed by the mother of a player who was injured sliding into second base.  The player’s  mother sued the manager and the league, alleging that her son was properly taught how to slide and that the league used the wrong bases.  In my post, I discussed risk management techniques for coaches.

Thanks to Dan Fitzgerald Sr. and Jason Marsh for sending links to this story.

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