I kid you not; read this (over in Montana at the moment) and did a "You've got to be kidding me!!?" But no they're not. This is stuff you just can't make up as you go along.
"Supreme Court upholds metal bat case
By ANGELA BRANDT Independent Record helenair.com | Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:00 am | (1) Comments
The Montana Supreme Court has sided with the family of an 18-year-old baseball pitcher who was killed when a baseball struck him in the temple. The ball was hit with an aluminum bat, and the family subsequently sued the bat’s maker, Louisville Slugger.
The family filed suit in Helena in June 2006 alleging an “unreasonably dangerous” metal bat caused his death and the makers of the bat failed to warn of the dangers.
In October 2009, a jury awarded the family of Miles City American Legion baseball pitcher Brandon Patch $850,000 on a claim of a “design defect and failure to warn.”
The majority of jurors agreed that the bat maker failed to provide adequate warning as to the dangers of the bat used by a Helena Senators player in the 2003 game during which Patch was struck.
Attorneys for Hillerich & Bradsby Co., Louisville Slugger’s parent company, appealed the decision. In its appeal, the company said motions were wrongly denied in the case and the bat maker is entitled to a judgment or alternatively a new trial.
The Montana Supreme Court considered five issues on appeal:
“Did the District Court properly deny H&B’s summary judgment motion on Patches’ failure to warn claim?”
“Did the District Court properly deny H&B’s Rule 50(b) motion for judgment as a matter of law?” (For information on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure – Rule 50, go to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - Rule 50
“Did the District Court properly grant Patches’ motion in limine regarding H&B’s assumption of the risk defense?”
“Did the District Court properly instruct the jury?”
“Should the verdict be set aside and a new trial granted?”
According to the Supreme Court opinion released Thursday, “the jury concluded the model CB-13 aluminum bat was not designed defectively, but determined the bat was in a defective condition due to H&B’s failure to warn of the enhanced risk associated with its use and awarded (the family) an $850,000 verdict on their failure to warn claim.”
The opinion continues, stating, “The realities of the game of baseball support the District Court’s decision to submit Patches’ failure to warn claim to the jury. The bat is an indispensible part of the game. The risk of harm accompanying the bat’s use extends beyond the player who holds the bat in his or her hands.”
Justices affirmed that the District Court properly denied the bat company’s motion for summary judgment on the Patches’ failure to warn claim because Louisville Slugger is subject to liability to all players, including Patch, for the “physical harm caused by its bat’s increased exit speed, and genuine issues of material fact existed regarding the causation element of Patches’ claim.”
“Further, the District Court correctly prohibited H&B from arguing Brandon assumed risk and properly instructed the jury on the applicable Montana law. A new trial is not warranted.”
Lawyers representing both sides appeared before the justices in January to argue their cases.
Attorneys for the company said the parents and their lawyers have never explained what the warning on the bat should be or who exactly should be cautioned.
Curt Drake, a Helena attorney representing the Patch family, told Supreme Court justices then that the makers of the product need to warn those within “the zone of danger.” The user of the product needs to be cautioned as well as those who may be in harm’s way, he said.
Reporter Angela Brandt: 447-4078 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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