A man who attended a Los Angeles Angels game in Anaheim last year is suing the team and outfielder Juan Lagares after being blinded in the left eye by a baseball that Lagares allegedly threw into the stands "randomly" and "at high velocity." The lawsuit filed this week seeks unspecified monetary damages.
The MLB ticket terms and conditions says 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)."
Although MLB tickets come with a disclaimer warning fans that teams are not liable for injuries that happen during the game, 55-year-old David Mermelstein still decided to hire an attorney to file a civil complaint in the Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday.
"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, per KTLA.
The incident happened on June 22, 2022 when the Angels hosted the Kansas City Royals. Mermelstein 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.
Lagares then allegedly sent the ball into the stands, and Mermelstein looked up when he heard the crowd getting loud. When Mermelstein realized the ball was coming straight to his face, he didn't move fast enough and it "crushed" his eye, according to the complaint.
While fans usually like getting souvenirs from players, Mermelstein's attorney argued that Lagares "had a duty to do so reasonably and safely."
According to the lawsuit, Mermelstein attended that game last June with some friends in an attempt to get his mind off recent tragedies. On top of his father dying, Mermelstein had also just been diagnosed with brain cancer.
"This was a man who was already at one of the lowest points of his life," Marcereau said, as reported by the Orange County Register. "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."