Woman Files Law-Suit Against MLB Over Lack Of Netting At Stadiums

Sam Peterson Contributor
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Major League Baseball is facing a class action law-suit due to the lack of protective netting for fans.

The law suit is being filed by Gail Payne, who is described in the suit as being a long-time Oakland Athletics fan and someone purchased season tickets for the first time this year.

Payne’s complaint alleges that, “Every year, a growing number of fans, of all ages but often children, suffer often horrific and preventable injuries, such as blindness, skull fractures, severe concussions, and brain hemorrhages, when they are struck by a screaming foul ball or flying shrapnel from a shattered bat while sitting in an unprotected area.”

The plaintiff is not seeking any compensation, but only, “a rule requiring all existing major league and minor league indoor and outdoor ballparks to be retrofitted to extend protective netting from foul pole to foul pole, by the beginning of the 2016-2017 MLB season.”

The suit states that Payne’s tickets are in section 211 of the Oakland Coliseum and that it is an “exposed section along the first base line.” However, a closer inspection of Payne’s seats show that they are quite far from the field of play, and unlikely to be faced with a fast-paced foul ball.

Screenshot from of section 211

Screenshot from of section 211 at the Oakland Coliseum

Payne claims that she fears for the safety of her family at all games, and that three to four balls enter her section per game. Many baseball fans would be thrilled with the chance to catch a foul-ball, but Payne only sees the potential for devastating injury.

Major League Baseball does have issues concerning fan safety, there is no denying that. A woman nearly died at a Boston Red Sox game earlier this year due to a broken bat. Nevertheless, these injuries often occur in the immediate vicinity of the home plate, not well into the second level of the stadium.

Posted all around baseball stadiums are signs telling fans to be alert for foul balls and to pay attention to play. Additionally, the back of tickets show that by entering the stadium the fan assumes some level of risk.