Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff, David Manning, was a fan at a baseball game when he was struck by a ball thrown by Defendant-employee, Ross Grimsley, while playing for Defendant-employer, Baltimore Baseball Club, Inc.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An employer is liable for damages resulting from an assault by an employee when the assault was in response to a plaintiff’s interference of the employee’s duties.
Issue. The issue is whether the Baltimore Baseball Club could be liable for Grimsley’s pitch into the stands.
Held. The court reversed the trial judge’s directed verdict for the Club because the Club could be held liable for Grimsley’s actions. An employer is liable when an employee assaults a third party in response to the third party’s interference of the employee’s duties. It could be possible that a jury would interpret Grimsley’s actions as an attempt to rid the hecklers so he could pitch more effectively.
Discussion. An employer could be responsible for an employee’s intentional assault, but the key limitation is that the assault must be in response to a third party’s interference in the employee’s duties.