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Baseball Fan Allowed to Sue Stadium over Injury
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The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that an Idaho man who lost his eye, being hit by a ball during a minor league baseball game, can continue his lawsuit against the baseball team and the stadium owners. The injured man, Bud Rountree was part of the spectators in a Boise Hawks game in August 2008, when a foul ball struck him in the eye. In 2010, Rountree sued the stadium owners and the baseball club for negligence.

However, attorneys for the defendants asked the court to invoke a legal theory that protects stadium owners from injuries done to fans hit by foul balls. The court said in its opinion last week, that the so-called baseball rule could not be applied by the court.

The opinion observed, “Whether watching baseball is inherently dangerous, and the degrees of fault to be apportioned to Rountree and Boise Baseball, are question for the jury.”


The defendants argued that Rountree had, by attending the game and by possessing a ticket that spelt out on the back, “The holder assumes all risk and dangers incidental to the game of baseball including … the danger of being injured by thrown or batted balls,” had tacitly consented to the risk.

The court of first instance rejected the arguments by the defendants holding that the application of the “baseball rule” was not within the purview of the court, but within the purview of the legislature.

On appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court, the defendants argued that in similar cases judges in New York and other courts have adopted the “baseball rule.”

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But the Idaho Supreme Court decided, it was for a jury to decide what to do.

Boise Baseball said that the order could affect sports and athletes and open the door to spurious lawsuits by athletes who engaged in games like baseball or basketball, “despite the fact that there are inherent risks to these sports.”


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