On July 15, 2006, 12-year-old little league pitcher Steven Domalewski was struck in the chest by a line drive from a Louisville Slugger TPX Platinum aluminum bat. Domalewski then went into cardiac arrest and was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes. Although was resuscitated, Domalewski suffered permanent cognitive impairment and became confined to a wheelchair. Now, at age 19, he has impaired speech and is almost completely blind.
The boy’s parents filed suit against Defendants Hillerich & Bradsby, the producer of the bat, the Wayne Police Athletic league, sponsors of the baseball game and Little League Inc., the entity that deemed the aluminum bat suitable for use by children in league play. The claim against the Wayne Police Athletic League was dismissed on the grounds of charitable-immunity.
Plaintiffs alleged that the aluminum bats posed an unreasonable risk of harm that was known to the Defendants, because it is well recognized that a ball struck by an aluminum bat will travel at significantly greater speed and force than if struck by a wooden bat. Plaintiffs also claimed defective design, failure to warn, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and breach of express warranty of merchantability. In turn, Defendants alleged that Domalewski assumed the risk by participating in the baseball game, denying all liability.
Prior to trial, the remaining parties settled for $14.5 million, but the details of the settlement remain confidential.
COURT: Passaic County Superior Court, NJ
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