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Akins v. Glens Falls City School District

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Akins sued Glens Falls City School District for failing to exercise reasonable care when a stray baseball struck her during a baseball game.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    In order to exercise reasonable care, the proprietor of a baseball field need only ensure that there is a screen behind the home plate where the chance of being hit by a baseball is the greatest.

    Facts.

    Akins was at a baseball game when she was struck by a stray ball. The baseball field was managed by the Glens Falls City School District (Glens Falls). There was a protective screen behind home plate, but no protective screen covering the other parts of the field, including the area in which Akins was located. Akins sued Glens Falls City School District for failing to exercise reasonable care when a stray baseball struck her during a baseball game. The jury found for Akins, and Glens Falls appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether the proprietor of a baseball field need only ensure that there is a screen behind the home plate where the chance of being hit by a baseball is the greatest?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. In order to exercise reasonable care, the proprietor of a baseball field need only ensure that there is a screen behind the home plate where the chance of being hit by a baseball is the greatest.

    Dissent.

    (Cooke, C.J.) The judgment of the trial court should be affirmed because different levels of baseball players can cause increased injury to spectators. The characteristics of baseball fields also differ, and the issue of the determination of reasonable care should be left to the jury.

    Discussion.

    As a matter of law, Glens Falls provided a screen behind home plate. A screen that is located behind home plate is all that is required to exercise reasonable care.


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