Product Liability

Bat-Maker Must Pay $850K to Family of Player Killed By Baseball

A Montana jury yesterday held that the maker of Louisville Slugger baseball bats must pay $850,000 to the family of a 18-year-old who was struck in the head by a batted ball at a 2003 American Legion game in Helena and died several hours later.

Witnesses testified that they couldn’t see the ball in the milliseconds it took to rocket from the aluminum bat of a Helena Senators player into the head of Brandon Patch, a pitcher for the Miles City Mavericks, reports the Independent Record.

His family argued that the manufacturer, Hillerich & Bradsby Co., didn’t adequately warn of the danger posed by aluminum bats, which, they said, make it easy for players to hit a baseball harder. The Mavericks now use only wooden bats, the newspaper says.

Brandon Patch’s mother, Debbie, says that the family was stunned by the amount of the verdict and had gone into the case hoping to warn others of the danger posed by aluminum bats, reports the Associated Press.

“We never expected it,” she states. “We just hoped we could get the truth out for more people to see.”

Defense lawyers declined to comment about the Lewis and Clark County verdict, the Independent Record says.

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