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Another Lawsuit Lottery

Next to the lady who sued McDonald’s because she spilled her coffee and burned herself, or the guy who set up a ladder in frozen horse shit and was injured when the ladder fell after the horse shit thawed, this is the stupidest lawsuit I have ever heard. (Suit blames baseball bat maker for death)

Now, before we go into it, let me say that I am sorry someone died. Obviously, nobody likes to see a child, or anyone, die. But, to blame the maker of a baseball bat for this death is totally absurd! It is worse than suing a gun manufacturer for a death caused by a gun; at least a gun is intended to kill. Baseball bats are tools to be used in a sporting competition. If you are going to sue anyone, why not sue the manufacturer of the baseball? After all, the bat did not strike the victim’s head; it was the ball.(Of course, many people have been killed by being struck in the head with a baseball bat, but that is not the case, here. And, even if it was the case, it would be an absurd lawsuit.)

The article states:

The mother of a Miles City Mavericks baseball player who died after being hit in the head with a batted ball during a 2003 game in Helena is seeking damages from the makers of Louisville Slugger bats in this civil trial, sure to draw national attention and stoke the discussion of whether aluminum bats create an unfair advantage or are too dangerous.

The article further states:

“If some other bat was used, the ball would have been hit just as hard, if not harder,” Sterup said during opening statements.

The ball that struck Patch was traveling at 99.8 mph, he said. Nearly every home run hit with a wooden bat exceeds 100 mph, Sterup added.

According to the plaintiff’s attorneys, Patch’s death was caused by the defective and unreasonably dangerous product because the bat was designed and manufactured to allow the ball to be hit with such significant force as to endanger the safety of those playing the game. No warnings were given to adequately provide sufficient notice to users such as Patch of the dangerous propensities of these products, the suit alleges.

What do they want? Should there be a warning on a baseball bat saying: “Warning, hitting a baseball with this could result in the death of another person. Therefor, use extreme caution when hitting a baseball with this device?” How absurd would that be? And, what would it accomplish?

Even more to the point, the article (and lawsuit) seems to imply that the ability to hurl a projectile (baseball in this case) at 100 mph puts people in danger. Well, what about tennis? In tennis, several male tennis players, including Andy Roddick, can serve at over 140 mph. (In fact, I think Roddick and others have been clocked at 145 mph.) Should that be illegal? Should the manufacturer of a tennis racket be sued if someone is injured by a fast serve? As an avid tennis player, who has been hit in the eye by a very fast ball during net play, I say no. You take a chance in life every time you leave your house. (And, of course, you are not guaranteed safety in your house; it could get hit by a meteor, destroyed by a tornado, or ravaged by a flood.)

Furthermore, in the case of tennis, the speed of the ball is very similar to tennis. The distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate is 60 feet, 6 inches. The distance between the two serving lines, in tennis, is 78 feet. If you assume that you are dealing with a strong server, and thus the receiver may stand 5 feet behind the service line during a tennis serve, the distance between the server and the receiver is 83 feet. If the server served at 150 mph (a fast, but not unheard-of serve, today), the ball would be traveling at 220 feet per second. This is a much higher speed than the 147 feet/sec speed mentioned in the article for a baseball. If you assume that this ball must go over 83 feet, it would take 377 milliseconds. While shorter than the times mentioned for the case of a baseball, it is in the same general range. BUT

This is clearly a case where a family was convinced by a lawyer, with way too much time on his hands, that they can win the lawsuit lottery by going after the Louisville Slugger, the manufacturer of the bat. This is, after all, how John Edwards, and many other lawyers, have made their living. It is time that Americans stand up and say “Enough is Enough!”. It is time that Americans stop allowing greedy people, and greedy lawyers, to milk the system for their financial benefit, while punishing ordinary Americans who just want to make a decent living and live in peace, while enjoying their life.

The chilling effect this could have on the sports programs for children is scary. Already, too few American children are taking part in sports. They are getting fat while spending their time watching tv and playing video games. A lawsuit like this can only have the effect of causing parents to take their children out of sports programs, thus further promoting the couch potato culture.

Life is not without risk. But, without some risk, life is not worth living. People need to be free to compete, try new things, and explore life. If suits such as these succeed, companies that produce good products will go out of business, and society will descend into a state of existence, rather than a state of life.

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