John O'Brien Jul. 13, 2015, 3:01pm


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – Major League Baseball is facing a class action lawsuit brought by season ticket-holders who claim they aren’t protected adequately from foul balls.

The firm Hagens Berman filed the lawsuit Monday against MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, alleging he hasn’t upheld his duties to enact safety measures that would prevent injuries caused by foul balls and bats that make their way into the stands.

The suit does not seek compensatory damages. Instead, it is an attempt to force MLB to install safety netting from foul pole to foul pole at all major and minor league parks.

“The seats in the exposed areas just past the netting, along first and third base, between the foul poles, where most foul balls are hit, are often occupied by families because they are more affordable and/or protected seats are sold out,” the complaint alleges.

“These seats are often occupied by young fans… However the area along the foul lines poses a particular danger to spectators. It is particularly dangerous because it is not protected from flying balls and bats by protective netting, and because traditionally, line drive fouls are normally hit flush, and send the ball at a higher velocity down the lines.”

Hagens Berman and the firm Hilliard Munoz and Gonzales filed the complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Larger JumboTron screens and displays show that the commissioner has increased distractions to appeal to younger fans, the complaint says.

“It is time for the commissioner to take action, to protect spectators sitting between the foul lines along first and third base, where fans are suffering serious and entirely preventable injury,” attorney Steve Berman said.

“The MLB currently generates $9 billion in revenue annually. We think that asking the league and commissioner to be responsible for increased netting and basic protection for the fans who fill the seats is the MLB’s duty to baseball’s most dedicated.”

From Legal Newsline: Reach editor John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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