Update: Foul Ball Leads to Lawsuit Against College and NCAA
On February 14, 2018, former Division II college baseball player Joseph Gutowski filed suit against West Chester University of Pennsylvania and the NCAA after injuries he sustained during a game in 2016.
In his complaint, Gutowski alleges that a foul ball hit him directly in the head during a home game in April 2016, while he was seated on the players’ bench in the dugout. Claiming permanent injuries, he is now seeking damages for breach of contract, negligence, unjust enrichment, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The complaint specifically notes that there was no fencing in front of the dugout, though that safety measure alone would have prevented his injury. Additionally, he alleges that the college and the NCAA both knew of the dangers of foul balls and failed to take reasonable safety precautions or even simply warn the players who sat in the dugout.
On May 17, 2018 the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the case without prejudice due a lack of federal jurisdiction. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the plaintiff later conceded there was not complete diversity in the case. The defendant’s motion was granted and the case will not be heard in federal court. The plaintiff may refile in the appropriate state court