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Opening Arguments

Foul ball

Well, we don't have to do what Idaho did:

A recent decision by the Idaho Supreme Court could help a region woman partially blinded after being struck by a foul ball at a 2009 RailCats game convince the Indiana Supreme Court to allow her to sue the baseball team.

In a February ruling featuring eerily similar facts, the five Idaho justices became the first court in the nation to reject the "Baseball Rule," which generally provides that a team is not liable for spectator injuries caused by the game if the team provides screened seating behind home plate.

Bud Rountree lost an eye after a foul ball struck him while he was talking with another fan and not paying attention to the game in the unscreened Executive Club section of the Boise Hawks stadium.

The Idaho Supreme Court agreed that Rountree should be permitted to sue the team because the Idaho Legislature is best suited to determine the extent to which baseball teams have a duty to protect their fans, and Idaho lawmakers have yet to limit that liability.

[. . .]

The Indiana Supreme Court last week agreed to review an appeals court ruling that prohibited Juanita DeJesus from suing the RailCats. Lake Superior Judge Calvin Hawkins initially allowed her lawsuit to proceed.

The appeals court said no trial was needed because DeJesus was warned three times by the RailCats about the danger of foul balls and chose not to buy seats behind the screen at home plate.

Like Idaho, the Indiana General Assembly has never decided whether a baseball team can be held liable for spectator injuries. Illinois law explicitly prohibits baseball fans from suing teams for game-caused injuries in nearly all circumstances.

What's wrong with expecting people to watch out for themselves and have a little common sense? You go to a ball game, you might get hit with a ball. If I had to guess, I'd say the Indiana Supreme Court probably won't follow in Idaho's footsteps. We tend to be a little more in the personal responsibility camp here. And she was warned three times, for Pete's sake.