Torts on Sports

A family is suing the maker of an aluminum bat after their son suffered a serious brain injury while pitching after being hit by a line drive off that bat. They are also suing the store that sold the batter/team the bat (Sports Authority), as well as Little League for giving the bat it's seal of approval. There are a million comments to make on the case as well as the use of metal bats for most amateur games - and I will reserve them all to focus on this luscious tidbit and to keep it short:

The kid was not injured at a Little League game. The kid was pitching in a Police Athletic League game. Little League was fingered as a culprit because they gave their "seal of approval." From a purely legal perspective, the argument has some elegance to it: Little League got paid for the seal, so it should step up and take responsibility if it's seal promoted sale and use in kids' games. On the other hand, naming Little League seems like overreaching.

What if Rafael Nadal lends his name to a tennis racket that is shown to be defective, breaking from stress and causing it's holder injury? People likely bought the racket because of his name. Is he liable? Now I understand that this is not a "seal of approval," but the remainder of the facts track perfectly.

Also, does it matter whether Little League did any product testing before granting the seal? I imagine that it would - but I also imagine that they didn't. That part of the case is intriguing - comparing people's impression of what the seal meant with what Little League intended it to mean.

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