October 17, 2017
Readers of this blog probably saw the news that a baseball fan has sued
the Chicago Cubs seeking compensation for the loss of sight in his left
eye after he was hit by a foul ball during a Cubs game earlier this year. This question has been litigated many times in many jurisdictions and, as it stands right now, the law favors baseball stadium owners.
In most cases, the discussion of the courts has focused on either whether the defendants have a duty to the spectator or whether the spectator assumed the risk of injury by choosing to sit close to the field. Often, whether the issue is defined as the former or the latter, court and commentary refer to the analysis as one involving "the baseball rule," which is really a reference to the result of the application of the analysis. The case against the Cubs is different, however, because in Illinois, there is a specific statute that limits the possible liability of baseball stadium owners.
I wrote a short comment on this a few days ago in The John Marshall Law School Law Review blog. You can read it here.
UPDATE (3-21-18): Earlier this month, the court dismissed the claim against the Cubs but allowed the case to proceed against Major League Baseball. The Chicago Daily Bulletin has the story.