Monday, May 19, 2008

Baseball bat makers sued after terrible accident

A boy playing Little League baseball was struck in the chest by a ball. The impact stopped the boy's heart and serious brain damage occurred before emergency treatment restarted the heart and saved the boy's life. The parents are suing the maker of the bat, claiming that metal bats are dangerous. They claim that metal bats drive balls faster than wooden bats and thus caused the injury to their son. And the maker is liable.
The case made Fox News this morning, and the Fox commentators seemed to agree that the parents have a case and the bat maker should pay.
How is this? The bat maker manufactured a standard product, which worked as designed, and is authorized for Little League play. In baseball everything is regulated by the league, the composition of the ball , the gloves, the size of the field, the amount of spit allowed on a pitcher's hands, everything. Metal bats are league authorized, and so the bat maker is making a legitimate piece of sports equipment that met Little League requirements. How does that make him liable for anything?
I understand the parents have suffered a terrible loss and deserve sympathy and support. But does that entitle them to endanger the existance of the sporting equipment company that made the bat, possibly driving them out of business and putting all their employees out in the street? Just defending against a law suit is fantastically expensive, and paying off a damage award is just as bad. Just because the parents are suffering, should they impose more suffering upon totally innocent parties?
You can also bet that the lawyers looked at the other parties that might be liable, the Little League, the owner of the ball field, the sponsors of the Little League teams, whoever, and decided that none of them had any money worth suing for. The sports equipment maker at least has enough money to meet payroll.

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