Baseball Beaned Mom Can’t Sue Bd. of Ed

Baseball is not considered a violent sport. But injuries do happen. Sometimes the baseball hits a spectator. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the injured spectator has a personal injury claim. A Tenafly, New Jersey mom recently learned this the hard way.

Mom’s son was a freshman at Tenafly High School. She went to see him play on the freshman baseball team. Mom sat in the bleachers. A wild throw by Tenafly’s second baseman hit her in the face during warm-ups.


Mom sued the Board of Education.  Her complaint was that no raised-up fencing surrounded the field.  Neither were there any signs warning about the dangers of baseballs flying into the stands. Mom claimed that the Board was therefore responsible for her injuries.

A trial judge threw the case out of court. Mom appealed. The appeals court agreed with the trial judge.

When you sue a public entity for personal injury, you generally have to prove more than just negligence. You have to prove that what the public entity did was “palpably unreasonable.” The judges said that mom failed to meet this higher standard.

Mom’s lawyer hired an expert to prove that the field was dangerous.  Problem was, the expert did not state a precise standard for when a ball field is legally dangerous. In other words, the expert did not say exactly what fencing problems make a ballfield unsafe.


Had a different expert been hired, the case may have turned out differently. This highlights the importance of an accident victim choosing an experienced lawyer. One who will know whom to hire for an expert witness.

You can read the actual appeals court opinion here.

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