Ms. Lloyd was apparently seated at picnic table adjacent to a fenced-in bullpen area where 11-year old Migliaccio was warming up a pitcher. That's young Mr. Migliaccio in the accompanying photo, sitting on the bench where he says Ms. Lloyd was sitting when he uncorked a wild throw. Instead of hitting the pitcher's glove, Migliaccio's ball sailed 10 feet over the other kid's head, hitting Ms. Lloyd in the face.
Huba writes that the table was five feet away from the bullpen, down the third base line; the caption to the photograph (which is taken from Huba's article) puts the bullpen behind Migliaccio in the photograph. (None of the articles I reviewed address the height of the fence separating the bullpen and the spectator area at the time of the incident. It would be interesting to know, for example, whether that ad sign was in place when all this happened.)
In an article posted June 26, the Newark Star-Ledger quotes Migliaccio in an interview with Good Morning America as saying, "I went over to see if she was okay, and she said that she was fine and not to worry about it." But Huba's account for APP.com says Lloyd "was taken to a hospital emergency room after the May 2010 incident – [she] had to undergo reconstructive surgery and suffers from headaches." Lloyd is alleging "multiple fractures," Huba writes.
And Lloyd is alleging that Migliaccio hit her intentionally, according to Huba. Huba quotes Riaz A. Mian, Lloyd's attorney, as charging Migliaccio threw "his best fast ball over the bullpen into the picnic area, striking my client in the face."
According to the linked AP account:
The lawsuit filed April 24 alleges Migliaccio's errant throw was intentional and reckless, "assaulted and battered" Lloyd and caused "severe, painful and permanent" injuries.At this distance, it's easy to be snarky: Can the mother of a Little Leaguer not know that it's a bad idea to sit anywhere near the area where catchers are warming pitchers? (It's also a good idea not to sit behind the first baseman when he tries to warm up the infield.) Can a typical 11-year old Little Leaguer really throw hard enough to break glass, much less someone's face?
A second count alleges Migliaccio's actions were negligent and careless through "engaging in inappropriate physical and/or sporting activity" near Lloyd. She continues to suffer pain and anguish, incur medical expenses and has been unable to carry out her usual duties and activities, the lawsuit says.
And Lloyd's husband, in a third count, is suing for the loss of "services, society and consortium" of his wife.
But even assuming Ms. Lloyd really was seriously injured, why would she sue a little kid?
I don't pretend to know what the law may be in New Jersey, but -- in Illinois -- there may have been no one else to sue.
In Illinois, the Baseball Facility Act, 745 ILCS 38/1 et seq., and the Recreational Use of Land and Water Areas Act, 745 ILCS 65/1 et seq., would operate to severely limit Ms. Lloyd's choices about whom to sue.
And this isn't just a blogger speculating: Debbie Vaughn was hit by an 11-year old's errant warm-up throw in 2005 while watching her son's game at West Frankfort Park in downstate Franklin County -- and the Illinois Appellate Court found that these statutes barred her claims against the West Frankfort Recreation Association and its alleged agent, Jarrod Barton, the coach (and father) of the kid who uncorked the errant throw. Vaughn v. Barton, 402 Ill.App.3d 1135, 933 N.E.2d 355 (5th Dist. 2010). However, just because there may not be a statute (yet) immunizing kids from the consequences of making bad throws while warming up to play baseball doesn't mean it's a particularly good idea to try and sue a kid.
If you look at the news coverage swirling around the Migliaccio case, you'll note that the young man's father and the young man's attorney are both angry that Little League is not coming to the boy's defense. The important part of this, though, is that the Migliaccio family's homeowner's insurance will be providing a defense for this suit.
And bringing a motion to dismiss in rather short order, I expect.