On the Ball: Does a Baseball Spectator Assume a Normal Risk of Injury by a Foul Ball? (NRPA Law Review)

By Koslowski, James | Parks & Recreation, June 2003 | Go to article overview

On the Ball: Does a Baseball Spectator Assume a Normal Risk of Injury by a Foul Ball? (NRPA Law Review)


Koslowski, James, Parks & Recreation


In the case of Thurmond v. Prince William Baseball Club, INC., No. 020116 (Va. 1/10/2003) the Virginia state supreme court was asked whether a spectator at a minor league baseball game assumed the risk of being struck by a batted foul ball. In resolving this question for the first time, the Virginia high court found a general consensus among courts in other jurisdictions that had considered the issue. As a general rule of law in most jurisdictions, the Virginia supreme court noted that stadium owners or operators of ballfields owe spectators only a "limited duty" of care "to screen the area behind home plate and to offer a sufficient amount of seating for spectators who reasonably may be anticipated to request protected seats in the course of an ordinary game." In this case, the state supreme court had to determine whether to adopt this majority rule in Virginia.

In August 1997, the plaintiff attended a night baseball game at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Prince William County to see the Prince William Cannons. The Cannons are a Class A minor league professional baseball team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, which contracted with the Cannons to provide the Cannons with players and coaches as part of the Cardinals' player-development program.

In the stadium, spectators were warned of the risk of being struck by objects batted or thrown from the field. Warning signs, measuring three feet by three feet, were posted at entrances to the seating areas. These signs stated: "Be Alert! Objects batted or thrown into the stands may be dangerous." All persons entering the stadium walked past one of these entrances, regardless of the location of their seats.

In addition, the back of each admission ticket contained a printed warning that stated, in part:

   The holder of this ticket assumes all risk
   and danger incidental to the game of
   baseball ... including specifically (but
   not exclusively) the danger of being
   injured by thrown bats, thrown or batted
   balls.... and agrees that the participating
   clubs or their officials, agents and
   players are not liable for injury related
   from such causes.

Twenty to 30 seats were reserved for each game in the screened area behind home plate for spectators who requested to be reseated because they weren't comfortable sitting in the unscreened areas of the stadium.

Thurmond sat with her family and friends high in the bleachers on the third base side of the stadium. This was Thurmond's first visit to the stadium, and she didn't know that she could have requested a seat in the screened area behind home plate. She also didn't read the warning printed on the back of the admission ticket because she never had possession of her ticket, which her friends had given to her husband. However, Thurmond remained alert at all times during the game, watching the hitters and batted baseballs.

During the eighth inning, a line drive foul ball was batted toward Thurmond. Although Thurmond saw the baseball approaching, it was moving too rapidly to allow her to take any evasive action. The ball struck Thurmond directly on the right side of her face, and she sustained various injuries, including fractures of her facial bones, damage to her right eye socket and extensive nerve damage.

Allegations of Negligence

Thurmond sued the Cannons, alleging that she was injured as a result of the team's negligence in failing to provide adequate warnings at the stadium and to operate and maintain the stadium in a safe condition to prevent injuries to invitees. In response, the Cannons filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Thurmond assumed the risk of injury as a matter of law when she chose to sit in an unscreened area of the stadium. (In a motion for summary judgment, the Cannons asked the trial court to rule that there was no legal basis for liability and dismiss Thurmond's claims without a trial. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On the Ball: Does a Baseball Spectator Assume a Normal Risk of Injury by a Foul Ball? (NRPA Law Review)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.