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Baseball fan hit by ball sues Phillies, Yankees, Clearwater, Pinellas

CLEARWATER — Smacked by a foul ball while seeking autographs at Bright House Field, Paul Grand wants more than a souvenir for his trouble.

Grand is suing the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Yankees, the city of Clearwater and Pinellas County.

The lawsuit filed by the Havertown, Pa., resident claims they should have warned him of something before a 2005 spring training game, specifically the "dangers associated with being distracted by meeting other baseball players and obtaining their autographs while batting practice was going on."

According to his lawsuit, he stood at the "rail" — a sideline near the outfield — seeking autographs as an unidentified Yankee practiced batting. A ball struck his face.

The ball clubs and local government — Clearwater owns the stadium — should have kept people from the rail area during batting practice, or stopped hitting while they were there, the suit states.

Grand declined to comment Friday evening, referring questions to his lawyer. He feared talking publicly would jeopardize his case.

The lawsuit doesn't say how much money he wants.

But here's the damage, according to the lawsuit: "bodily injury and resulting pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, expensive hospitalization, medical nursing care and treatment, loss of earnings, loss of ability to earn money and aggravation of a previously existing condition."

In court filings, the baseball teams counter that they have no control of the stadium.

The city claimed immunity. County Attorney Jim Bennett said he can't even figure out how Pinellas had a role, except for help paying to build the Phillies' spring training home.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

Baseball fan hit by ball sues Phillies, Yankees, Clearwater, Pinellas 05/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 5:03pm]
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