Appeals court rules against woman

Updated: June 10, 2004, 7:10 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- A woman who was seriously injured by a foul ball at Fenway Park has no grounds to sue because she assumed a risk by attending the baseball game, a state appeals court ruled.

The Red Sox "had no duty to warn the plaintiff of the obvious danger of a foul ball being hit into the stands," the court said Wednesday in blocking Jane Costa's personal injury lawsuit from going to trial.

The three-member panel said that even someone with scant knowledge of baseball should realize that "a central feature of the game is that batters will forcefully hit balls that may go astray from their intended direction."

Costa, who was injured in 1998, sued the team for $486,909 in lost wages and medical expenses. She had been sitting about 20 rows behind the Red Sox dugout when Boston's Darren Lewis hit the foul ball.

Costa had to undergo reconstructive surgery that installed eight plates in her face, said her lawyer, James R. Burke.

According to court documents filed by Burke, an expert calculated that the ball was traveling about 90 mph when it struck Costa about 141 feet from home plate.

"I'm more than angry. I was in critical condition," Costa told The Boston Globe. She said Red Sox management and players are "bickering over millions and millions of dollars to hit a ball, and when one of their fans get hurt, they don't care."

According to Red Sox officials, three to four dozen patrons each season are injured by foul balls.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press