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Why is a fan suing the Los Angeles Angels and Juan Lagares?

The Angels and one of their players are now a civil suit. The situation has brought into question the legal rights of fans who ‘assume’ risks when spectating.

The Angels and one of their players are now a civil suit. The situation has brought into question the legal rights of fans who ‘assume’ risks when spectating.

Though it remains unclear as to exactly what happened with details still emerging, what is clear is that a man is now without sight in one eye, which in turn has brought into scrutiny the legal aspects of the risks assumed by spectators.

Angels fan suing franchise and Juan Lagares

According to reports this week, a man who attended a Los Angeles Angels game in Anaheim last year is now suing both the team and outfielder Juan Lagares after he was blinded in his left eye by a baseball that he claims Lagares threw into the stands “randomly” and “at high velocity.” Filed earlier this week, the lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

In case you’re wondering, The MLB ticket terms and conditions state that a ticket holder “acknowledges and assumes all risks and dangers associated with: (a) being a spectator before, during, and after a baseball game (including all warm-ups, practices, pre-game, post-game and between-inning activities, promotions and competitions).” Though there is a disclaimer which directly warns fans that teams are not liable for any injuries which occur during the game, the man whose name is David Mermelstein has still taken the step of filing a civil complaint in Orange County Superior Court. “I understand there’s a risk when there’s a batted ball, a foul ball or a home run, but this accident, this happened when play was stopped,” Mermelstein’s attorney Rob Marcereau said.

What exactly did Juan Lagares do?

As per reports, it was back on June 22nd of last year during a game against the Kansas City Royals. According to Mermelstein, he was sitting in the outfield bleachers eating peanuts when the former Angels outfielder Lagares caught the the third out in the top of the sixth inning. The 55-year-old alleges that Lagares then threw the ball into the stands at which point the crowd began to cheer louder. Unable to move his head fast enough as he realized the ball was coming straight toward him, Mermelstein’s eye was “crushed” by the ball according to the complaint. Further to the point, Mermelstein’s lawyer also suggested that while the practice of throwing balls into the crowd as souvenirs for fans is normal, Lagares “had a duty to do so reasonably and safely.”

The context of David Mermelstein’s situation gets even worse

It’s worth noting that Mermelstein’s complaint also references the reason why he attended the game that day with friends. Indeed, it states that he did so to take his mind off to major blows that he had recently received prior to that day: the death of his father and the diagnosis of his own condition, which turned out to be brain cancer. “This was a man who was already at one of the lowest points of his life,” Marcereau said, “He went to the Angels game to get his mind off his troubles, and what should have been a good time and a diversion for him ended up being one of the most horrific experiences of his life.” There has been no official response from the Angels nor Lagares.


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