Cubs Dropped From Foul Ball Suit, If Only Temporarily

As we previously reported, a Cubs fan was struck in the face by a foul ball during an August 2017 game at Wrigley Field, where he brought his children to watch from the first base line. The injury left John “Jay” Loos blind in one eye and his other eye vulnerable to the same. He filed suit against both the MLB and the Cubs in October, alleging negligence by both parties, specifically, for failing to install a net which would have otherwise shielded him from the stray ball.

On March 7, 2018, finding that Loos did not assert a sufficient cause of action, the court dismissed the claim against the Cubs, leaving the MLB as the only remaining defendant. The complaint was inadequate in that it failed to demonstrate that the team was “reckless.” Not all is lost, however, as the order allows Loos until April 6, 2018 to amend his complaint against the team and move forward again with both defendants. To withstand dismissal, the new complaint should allege that the Cubs acted “willfully and wantonly,” rather than “recklessly,” in its conduct leading to Loos’ injuries.

Illinois has laws in place to address these sorts of issues – the “baseball rule” being particularly relevant in this case. The law protects stadium owners from liability for these types of injuries where ample seating is provided behind protective nets. Prior to the court’s most recent order, the Cubs and MLB both looked to the rule as a defense in the action, alleging that Loos chose to sit in an unprotected area within the stadium. Loos urged, “I had no idea that you were subjected to such missiles,” and that even with a mitt in hand, “you wouldn’t have been able to react in time.” The MLB has until April 6 to respond to the allegations, at which point, the Cubs may very well be a named defendant again. Neither the Cubs nor the MLB have released comments.

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