Injured teen challenges the safety of aluminium baseball bats made with scandium alloys

by Charles Miller

Cole Schlesner suffered serious head injuries when he was hit in the head four years ago while pitching in a baseball game in a Cincinnati, Ohio suburb. The teenager has now filed suit against Easton Sports alleging the “composite” baseball bat involved in his incident was unreasonably dangerous. As a result of the incident, a portion of the boy’s skull was removed to allow space for his swollen brain. He was unable to move the right side of his body and could not walk or talk when he awoke from a coma four days after the incident.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed around the nation from parents of children who were hit by balls off of aluminum bats. Lightweight yet hard, aluminum bats allow young players to hit baseballs far harder and faster than wooden bats. In 2011, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a judgment for $850,000 in favor of the family of an 18-yeard old who died after being hit by a ball struck by a Louisville Slugger CB-13 aluminum bat. Last year, a $14.5 million settlement was reached involving a 12-year old pitcher who suffered severe brain damage after he was struck by a line drive hit from a metal Louisville Slugger bat. The lawsuit contended that the bat had not been sufficiently tested and that its marketing violated a state consumer fraud law.

In Schlesner’s recently filed lawsuit, he alleges the bat involved was advertised as “provid(ing) the most efficient energy transfer from handle to barrel for maximum bat head whip and a quicker bat.” Easton alleges that Easton “touted the fact that its line ofBT265 Bats are made with Sc900 scandium alloy, a composite material, that it hailed as able to provide maximum handle flex 2 times greater than aluminum bats.” The “BT265 bat designed and marketed by Easton caused a ball to be hit with greater exit velocity or the speed at which a hit ball comes off the bat, also referred to as Ball Exit Speed Ratio (or BESR), than that generated by other aluminum bats,” according to the lawsuit. As a result, the lawsuit claims that balls may be hit so hard or fast that players do not have reasonable time to react or protect themselves.

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by Charles Miller

Charles Miller is a licensed attorney and a partner at Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Charles focuses his practice on areas of complex commercial litigation and personal injury litigation.