Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Bat Does Not Cause Death


Forget about all of the signs that you've been told will signal the end of civilization as we know it. Whether they be rising oceans, searing heat from the sun, the earth opening up and swallowing us whole, all of those would be preferable to how we're really going to meet our doom. With ridiculous lawsuits.

A society cannot sustain itself with the continuing trend of people suing on grounds that are asinine but yet winning said ridiculous lawsuits. From the fine folks over there at USA Today, we learn of yet another injustice in the asinine lawsuit department. It would seem that over there in Helena, Montana, a jury felt it necessary to award $850,000 to a family to compensate for the death of their son during a baseball game back in 2003. They found judgment against the make of the bat. That's right. The jury found that the "maker of Louisville Slugger baseball bats failed to adequately warn about the dangers the product can pose." Wait. What now?

Back in 2003, a one Brandon Patch was pitching in an American Legion baseball game in Helena. The bats that were being used were Louisville Slugger aluminum baseball bats. Brandon threw a pitch and the batter hit the ball. The ball was a line drive straight at Brandon, striking him in the head and causing an injury from which he would die only hours later. That, in and of itself, is a heartbreaking tragedy and my sincere condolences go out to his entire family and all of his friends.

That being said, how is it exactly that the manufacturer of the bat is responsible for his tragic death? Well, according to the lawyers (who will have a certain spot in hell, I'm fairly sure of that) "...aluminum baseball bats are dangerous because they cause the baseball to travel at a greater speed." They contended that Brandon "...did not have enough time to react to the ball being struck before it hit him in the head." Um, clearly that was the case. But what isn't so clear is how this is the fault of the manufacturer of the bat.

Mind you, "...the jury also decided the product was not defective." But what the jury did decide was that the aluminum bat "...posed a threat without an adequate warning label." Are you kidding me?!

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, but what, pray tell, would you like the warning label to say? "This bat is meant to hit baseballs and if they hit you it's going to hurt and you could die?" Do people not KNOW that? I mean, do people not KNOW that subjectively? I don't think for one second that every player that takes to a baseball field is thinking in the back of their mind, "This could be it for me." In fact, I'm going to guess and say that NEVER happens. You know WHY that never happens? Because this, my friends, was, stay with me here, an accident.

Accidents happen. I know that sounds cold and calloused in this situation, but it's true. Accidents happen. All sorts of accidents happen. But just because they happen and because you're overwrought with grief, that doesn't mean that you're going to look around and find someone to blame. What if the kid had fallen out of a tree and landed on his dome? Are the parents going to sue the company that manufactures the seeds that the tree had grown from? What if the packets of seeds didn't have a warning label that stated "This product can grow into a full blown tree and if you climb in and fall out and land on your noggin, you could croak." (I'm paraphrasing, of course. I have no experience in writing warning labels.) No, of course you wouldn't because that would be what? Silly, that is correct.

If I were on that jury and this is what it came down to (warning labels or no warning labels), in order for me to side with the family I would have to believe that there should be a warning label on an aluminum bat that said a ball hit with said bat would travel faster than that hit with a wooden bat and that my reaction time to said ball would be lessened. Furthermore, I would have to believe that if there WAS a warning label, that it would have been sufficient enough for my child to NOT have played ball and gotten hurt. I don't think that's the case at all. Nor do I think it would be the case.

Seriously, you tell me. If you had a kid (or maybe you do have a kid. Better you than me, though.) and they wanted to play ball and they brought home their aluminum bat and you looked at it and saw the ridiculous warning that I gave an example of above, would you then jump to your feet (I'm assuming you're relaxing before all of the alarming stuff goes on) and tell your kid that there was NO way in hell that you were going to let him play with an aluminum baseball bat because it might hit a ball faster? Yeah, I don't think you're going to say that. Mainly I say that because I'm assuming in my above scenario that you're actually going to read the warning label on a baseball bat if there was one. You're not. Don't kid yourself. You're not.

This is ridiculous and I would like to speak with every member on that jury and ask them what they were thinking. I can guess what they were thinking, though. They were likely thinking about the emotional aspect of this case and I get that. Losing your child to an accident is horrible, I agree. But just because there is an accident, it doesn't mean that there is someone to blame. This accident could have happened with a wooden bat. Then what? Are you going to sue for not having a warning period on the wooden bat that says you could get hurt? It's a BAT. I would think that you understand that playing with a BAT could always have some aspect of the chance of getting hurt. Again, I repeat, it's a BAT.

Just remember, in the future, if you see a baseball bat with a warning on it to the effect of "Serious injury, even death, may occur with the use of this product" you'll know where it came from. It is at that point that I will be happy to share with you my designs for my walled off compound and my instructions for how to dig a moat and the proper care and feeding of alligators for said moat. You're going to be that much closer to wanting to keep the heck away from this overly litigious society that can never accept that which is without blame. Trust me. It's a lot safer in here being away from people who think that the makers of a bat are responsible for a kid getting hit in the head with a ball. Much, much safer.

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4 comments:

Kate said...

Great job Mary- warning you might get Carpal Tunnel typing blogs. :)

Baseball Bats said...

This information was great, thank you for taking the time to write it. I have already bookmarked this page so I can come back for more.

Baseball Bats said...

This information was great, thank you for taking the time to write it. I have already bookmarked this page so I can come back for more.

Mare said...

Thanks for the kind words, Baseball Bats! I appreciate the bookmark.

Thanks for reading!

~ Mare