The family of an 18-year-old boy sued the maker of Louisville Slugger baseball bats for failing to warn consumers about the dangers the product can pose. The jury found the company, Hillerich & Bradsby, liable because of failure to place warnings on the product and awarded the family $850,000 for the death of their son in a 2003 baseball game.
Their son, Brandon Patch, was pitching in an American Legion baseball game when the ball slammed into his head after the batter hit it with a Louisville Slugger bat. Patch went into convulsions on the field and died within hours from his injury.
Patch’s family claimed that aluminum bats are particularly dangerous because they cause the baseball to travel at a greater speed, and that their son did not have enough time to react to the ball before it struck him in the head. The family hopes that the decision will notify people of the dangers associated with aluminum bats and that more youth leagues will switch to using wooden bats, which are used in professional baseball.
Attorneys for Hillerich & Bradsby argued that accidents are common in baseball games and that there is nothing inherently dangerous about aluminum bats. They feel that the same thing could have happened with a wooden bat.
This lawsuit was one of several recently involving aluminum bats made by Hillerich & Bradsby. Last year, a family sued the company when their 12-year-old son suffered brain damage after being struck by a baseball hit by a Louisville Slugger. Another family won a case against the company when they sued after their son was hit in the head with a ball hit off one of their aluminum bats and suffered severe head injuries.
Source: The State- “Mont. jury awards $850,000 in aluminum bat lawsuit”- October 29, 2009.