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Litigation over a falling fat guy at Shea Stadium enters year four

The New York Post reports today on a lawsuit filed against the Mets by a woman named Ellen Massey who, in 2007 was more or less crushed by a fat guy who came hurtling out of his seat in her direction, breaking her vertebrae. Massey says the fat guy was drunk. The fat guy said he was pushed. No word on whether Roger McDowell has been subpoenaed yet.

My interest in this case is more one of personal blogging history, as it led to one of my first blog posts over at ShysterBall back in May of 2007 when it first arose. My take on it then echoes the rule we were taught over and over in law school: if you’re going to sue a ballclub and the beer vendor for overserving a fat guy who later falls on you and breaks your back, you’d better be able to prove he wasn’t fit to be served in the first place. It’s hornbook law, as they say.

By all accounts, Ms. Massey didn’t identify the falling fatty until well after the event (back in 2007 it was still a John Doe complaint) and if she didn’t know who he was at the time, I have no idea who she’s supposed to establish that he was drunk and overserved at the time. And that’s really the only basis for the Mets to have liability here. I mean sure, the fat guy or his shovey friend could get sued individually, but they’re not big and rich like the Mets are, so why would any self-respecting plaintiff’s lawyers sue them?

But I think the best thing about the Post story is the way they portray one of the Mets’ defenses -- a boilerplate contributory negligence allegation -- as the kind of thing only a souless and heartless victim-blaming monster could concoct. It’s a standard defense guys. Lighten up, smarten up or stick to the wedding announcement business.

(thanks to Jason at IIATMS for the heads up)