A new Jersey teen was awarded $14.5 million dollars to settle a lawsuit his family had made against the bat manufacturer, Little League Baseball, and a sporting goods chain. In the lawsuit the Domalewskis, whose son Steven was left brain-damaged after being struck by a line drive off a metal bat while he was playing in a youth baseball game, claimed that the metal bat was unsafe because baseballs could carom off it at much faster speeds than wooden bats.
This argument, and why it's relevant, is based in an agreement made in the early 1990's between Little League Baseball and the major manufacturers of metal bats that they would limit the performance of the metal bats to that of the best wooden ones. This agreement seemed to have been working, at least according to Little League, who said that in 2008, injuries to pitchers, which is what Steven was, fell from 145 the year before the accord was reached to the current level of roughly 20 to 30 annually.
The settlement of $14.5 million would indicate that something isn't right with the performance level of the metal bats, though the settlement precludes those involved from discussing it's details, including whether the defendants admitted liability.
That aside, however, some level of justice and relief was given the Domalewski's with the settlement, allowing them to now solely focus on Steven's health without the distraction of the costs.
"The Domalewskis are still saddened by the tragic events of June 2006, but this settlement provides them with some relief and comfort that Steven will get the care he needs for the rest of his life," said the family's attorney, Ernest Fronzuto. "He still can't perform any functions of daily life on his own."
This sentiment was echoed by Stephen D. Keener, president and CEO of Little League Baseball, Inc. He stated that the settlement guarantees that "Steven Domalewski will receive the lifetime care he will require as a result of this tragic accident, a type of accident that is extremely rare in youth baseball."
While the old saying that money can't buy happiness is very true here, it won't allow Steven to return to the care free kid he was, it has to be of some comfort knowing that his every expense for the rest of his life is more than taken care of and in the end, that's the only kind of justice that was left on the table.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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