The New Mexico Court of Appeals is receiving national attention for its recent decision regarding the “baseball rule.” The baseball rule is known to exempt professional teams from liability when bats or balls go flying into the stands. This limit on liability exists so long as the stadium has the area and immediately behind home plate fenced off.The case arose when a New Mexico child was struck in the head by a homerun ball at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. The parents contended that the baseball team was partially responsible for the child’s serious injury and the Court of Appeals was recently tasked with deciding the matter.
I have to admit, I am somewhat mixed on the decision. As a New Mexico plaintiff’s attorney, I am all for helping New Mexico injury victims. However, as a baseball fan, I enjoy the ability to have an unobstructed view of the action and the possibility of catching a ball here or there. I can’t help but wonder if part of the New Mexico Court’s decision has to do with the fact that the injury occurred at a picnic area adjacent to the outfield wall.
Arguably, it would be more prudent to place seats that are not positioned toward the field of play in areas that are not prone to have balls falling from the air. Of note, the case is going to be appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court where it will be determined if the “baseball rule” will be good law in New Mexico.