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ARTICLE ID 189036

$________ – PRODUCT LIABILITY – DEFECTIVE DESIGN – CONSUMER FRAUD – SPORTS AND RECREATION – BASEBALL BAT TOO POWERFUL FOR LITTLE LEAGUE – 12-YEAR-OLD CHILD PITCHER IS STRUCK WITH LINE DRIVE IN CHEST, JUST ABOVE THE HEART, CAUSING CARDIAC ARREST – BRAIN DAMAGE DUE TO OXYGEN DEPRIVATION BROUGHT ON BY CARDIAC ARREST AND DELAYED RESUSCITATION – ANOXIC ENCEPHALOPATHY – PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY – PLAINTIFFS SOUGHT OF MEDICAL EXPENSES, PUNITIVE DAMAGES, AND PAIN AND SUFFERING.

New Jersey Superior Court, Passaic County Division

In this matter, the family of a boy brain damaged by a line drive sued several parties, including the bat’s manufacturer. The defendants denied wrongdoing.

On June 6, ________, the male teenage plaintiff Steven D., then age 12, was pitching at a little league baseball game in Wayne, New Jersey, when a batter struck a line drive with a metal bat. The ball struck Steven D. in the chest, just above the heart. The ball struck his heart at the precise moment between heartbeats, causing cardiac arrest. Due to the delay in the resuscitating him, the boy’s brain went without oxygen for 15-20 minutes. Steven D. suffered anoxic encephalopathy as a result of his injury, and is permanently disabled.

On June 13, ________, the plaintiffs Steven D., and his parents Nancy and Joseph D., filed suit in the New Jersey Superior Court’s Passaic County division. The matter was later referred to the United States District Court for Northern New Jersey by Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz. The matter was then remanded back to the Superior court, where it was handled thereafter.

The plaintiffs named in the suit Hillerich and Bradsby Co., manufacturers of the Louisville Slugger brand bat, The Sports Authority, Inc., Little League, Inc., New Jersey State Little League, John Does One through Ten and ABC Corporations One through Ten. Though Steven D. was playing in a Police Athletic League at the time of the game, the Little League was named due to their certification that the bats used in the game were approved for games involving children. The Wayne Police Athletic League was removed from the lawsuit via motion for dismissal. The league was originally added as a third-party defendant by Hillerich for their alleged failure to provide adequate first aid and other safety preparations.

The plaintiffs sought recovery of medical expenses, punitive damages, and pain and suffering under state consumer fraud laws. The plaintiff asserted that the bat’s manufacturers marketed the metal bat for youth baseball, though it was unsafe in that it caused the ball to be propelled at unsafe speeds. The hollow YB504 aluminum bat, they argued, is more dangerous than older traditional wooden and aluminum bats. The judge ruled that the Wayne Police Athletic League was not at fault and dismissed them from the suit. The matter was resolved via settlement with Hillerich and Bradsby and The Little League for $14.5 million.

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