On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court ordered a new trial for a Kansas City Royals fan who was hit by a hot dog during a baseball game.
John Coomer said that he was injured while watching a Royals game in 2009 when Sluggerrr, the team’s mascot, tossed a hot dog into the stands and hit him in the eye. Coomer had to undergo two surgeries for his detached retina and sought more than $20,000 compensation from the team.
During the first trial, the jury sided with the Royals. However, Coomer has been given a second chance in court. According to the “baseball rule,” teams are protected from being sued over fan injures that are caused by activities on the field. However, the ruling does not apply to a mascot tossing wrapped hot dogs to fans in the stands.
The Supreme Court ruled that the risk of being injured by a tossed hot dog is not a risk of watching a baseball game.
“No such argument applies to Sluggerrr’s hot dog toss. Millions of fans have watched the Royals play the National Pastime for the better part of a century before Sluggerrr began tossing hot dogs, and millions more people watch professional baseball every year in stadiums all across the country without the benefit of such antics,” the ruling said.
Royals’ attorney Scott Hoffer said that he does not see how the Supreme Court’s ruling will change the minds of the jury this time around.
Bob Tormohlen, Coomer’s representative, said he was pleased by the Supreme Court’s new ruling. “It’s always good to win.”
A Philadelphia lawyer Randy Manlioff said that the new ruling could change how team mascots in the stands interact with fans and spectators. With the new ruling, he asked “Will the teams have to take a step back and look at what their mascots are doing, and are they going to change their activities?”
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