Lawsuit filed in metal bat injury case

May 19, 2008 4:26:10 PM PDT
The family of a boy who suffered brain damage after being struck in the chest by a line drive off a metal bat while playing baseball filed a lawsuit Monday morning against the manufacturer of the bat, the store that sold it, and against Little League Baseball for giving the bat its seal of approval. The family of Steven Domalewski, who was 12 when he was struck by the ball in 2006, filed the lawsuit in state Superior Court. It names Hillerich & Bradsby Co., maker of the 31-inch, 19-ounce Louisville Slugger TPX Platinum bat used when Steven was hit.

The lawsuit also names Little League Baseball and Sports Authority, which sold the bat. It claims the defendants knew, or should have known, that the bat was dangerous for children to use, according to the family's attorney, Ernest Fronzuto.

"People who have children in youth sports are excited about the lawsuit from a public policy standpoint because they hope it can make the sport safer," Fronzuto said after filing the suit Monday morning. "There are also those who are skeptical of the lawsuit and don't see the connection between Steven's injury and the aluminum bat."

Little League denies any wrongdoing, as does the bat manufacturer. Sports Authority has not responded to several telephone messages seeking comment.

Steven was pitching in a Police Athletic League game when he was hit just above the heart by a line drive. His heart stopped beating and his brain was deprived of oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes, according to his doctors.

Although he was not playing in a Little League game, the organization is being sued because it gave its seal of approval to the bat, certifying it as safe for use by children, Fronzuto said.