Lawsuit Pushes MLB to Expand Netting in 2018
Major League Baseball said all 30 of its clubs will have extended safety netting behind home plate at their ballparks this season, aiming to provide greater protection from bats and balls in response to growing concerns over fan safety.
In response to the news from MLB's, Hagens Berman's Steve Berman said, "We are pleased to have pushed Major League Baseball to do the right thing — protect its fans.
We consider their decision to do so better late than never."
Did you purchase tickets to any MLB ballpark in the last four years?
Hagens Berman and Hilliard Muñoz and Gonzales LLP are representing ticket holders against the commissioner of MLB for grossly ignoring the safety risks to game attendees and spectators posed by foul balls and bats. If you think that the commissioner should act to protect spectators, and install safety netting from foul pole to foul pole, fill out the form or email MLB@hbsslaw.com.
Some of major league baseball’s biggest fans – ticket holders – have filed a class-action lawsuit against the commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) association Rob Manfred, and the office of the commissioner, alleging Manfred has failed to uphold his duties to enact safety measures against the danger of foul ball and bat injuries through a widespread pattern of negligence, misrepresentations and omissions toward baseball spectators at MLB games.
The lawsuit alleges that tens of millions attend a Major League Baseball game annually, and every year fans of all ages, but often children, suffer horrific and preventable injuries, such as blindness, skull fractures, severe concussions and brain hemorrhages, when they are struck by a fast-moving ball or flying shrapnel from a shattered bat.
The complaint filed on July 13, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleges that at the same time that the commissioner has failed to act to protect spectators, he has continued to make statements that promote Major League ballparks as safe and family-friendly and has sought to increase attendance of young fans – a demographic that is highly at risk for foul ball and bat injuries.
The nationwide class action seeks to change current MLB rules and practices, including requiring the MLB to retrofit all existing major league and minor league indoor and outdoor ballparks to extend protective netting from foul pole to foul pole by the beginning of the 2016-2017 MLB season. Relief sought also stipulates that all future ballparks intended to house major or minor league baseball games need to include at minimum this amount of safety netting. Plaintiffs also seek to create a program to study spectator injuries in an effort to continually reevaluate whether additional measures should be taken, so that precautionary measures can continue to evolve as the sport continues to evolve.
According to the suit, the combination of right-handed power pitchers and left-handed hitters that are likely to swing late at fastballs tends to make the area behind and near the third base dugouts particularly dangerous. The first and third base lines are also dangerous because of their proximity to the bases, where players often throw at high velocity toward the bases in attempts to tag out runners.
The suit also alleges that the commissioner has actively increased distractions and entertainment in the parks to appeal to younger fans, including enhanced larger JumboTron screens and displays.