This case involves a baseball fan who was attending a season-opening game between two teams that were longtime rivals. There were 41,600 fans at the venue. During the game, fans of the other team taunted the man and yelled at him. He immediately sent a text message to his family expressing concerns about his safety. After the game, the man and several friends were walking through the arena parking lot and a fan of the other team hit him on the side of the head with a wrench. The man fell to the ground and two fans of the other team began kicking him in the head. It took longer than 10 minutes for security personnel to arrive and break up the fight. The man suffered a fractured skull and severe brain injuries and went into a medically-induced coma. The man was later moved to a rehabilitation center to regain the ability to move and speak. At the same game, 172 other fans had been arrested for fighting, excessive alcohol consumption, disorderly conduct, and other offenses. The man’s family alleged that security had been inadequate, and that the fans who had incited violence should be required to go to alcohol awareness and anger management courses.
Expert Witness Response
Sports fans can be very passionate about their teams and this causes rivalry between fans and also may cause fan violence. Stadium owners have a duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent fans from being injured at baseball games. This duty includes a duty to exercise reasonable care in arranging for a sufficient number of security personnel to control crowds at baseball games. Security personnel at baseball games are required to use crowd control measures, which means that they must take steps to try to predict fan behavior and implement more rigorous security if they know of other incidents of fan rivalry that had escalated into violence. The stadium was negligent because they were aware of other arrests at the game and understood there was a potentially dangerous situation between fans of the two rival teams. In this case, the stadium should have more carefully monitored the seating area to allow them to quickly spot trouble between fans. Additionally, the stadium should have had more security personnel in the parking lot so that security guards could have requested police assistance when the fight broke out. The stadium should have acted more quickly to remove the violent fans from the seating area at the moment when they started taunting and arguing with the other fan.
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