LOS ANGELES, California– David Mermelstein, aged 55, has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Angels almost a year after an incident where he claims he was struck in the face and eye by a souvenir ball during a game in Anaheim.
The incident occurred in June while Mermelstein was attending the game with his friends.
The lawsuit states that Mermelstein had been seeking some respite from personal tragedies, including the recent passing of his father, a Holocaust survivor, and his own diagnosis of brain cancer.
“Things went horribly wrong,” the complaint reads.
As per complaint, Juan Lagares, who was an outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels at the time, caught the third out of the top of the 6th inning during the game.
Following the catch, Lagares allegedly threw the ball into the stands at a high velocity without any specific target, and it struck David Mermelstein on the left side of his face and eye.
Mermelstein was reportedly not expecting or prepared for the ball to be thrown in his direction.
As per Mermelstein’s attorney, the plaintiff was seated in the outfield bleachers and momentarily looked down to eat some peanuts.
During this time, he had no reasonable expectation or anticipation of a baseball being thrown towards him at a high speed.
Upon hearing the crowd’s roar, Mermelstein looked up and saw the ball approaching his face. Despite attempting to shield himself, he was unable to avoid the impact.
As a result, the ball severely injured his eyeball, causing it to be crushed, the globe to rupture, and internal fluid from his eye to burst, as described in the complaint.
Mermelstein underwent surgery but was left permanently blind in his left eye and disfigured, he alleges.
He suffers from severe keratoconus – a degenerative vision disorder – in his right eye, and considered his left one his “good eye.”
Mermelstein suffers from what he describes as a stabbing pain in his left eye, which also waters constantly.
Due to his now-limited vision, Mermelstein has trouble performing basic activities and faces the possibility of being completely blind in the future, the lawsuit alleges.
The left eye might have to be removed entirely if his condition does not improve.
“Randomly throwing a baseball into a crowd of people is neither reasonable nor safe,” the lawsuit states.
Mermelstein is seeking unspecified damages.
MLB tickets come with a disclaimer saying the team is not liable for any injuries sustained during a game:
“Holder recognizes that attendance of Holder and any Accompanying Parties at the Event is voluntary and may result in personal injury (including death), illness and/or property damage and agrees to abide by all MLB Policies and to stay alert and remain aware of Holder’s surroundings,” the disclaimer reads.
Mermelstein’s attorney, Rob Marcereau, criticized the disclaimer as “fine print” and argued that people generally do not read it.
He stated that California law does not support the notion that such a disclaimer absolves the team from responsibility in this case, as the incident occurred when play was stopped.
Marcereau noted that the Angels are denying any responsibility for the incident, while an Angels spokesperson declined to comment on the ongoing legal matter, according to Nexstar’s KTLA.
The complaint in Mermelstein’s case reportedly references a similar incident that occurred in 2019 at Angels Stadium, where a 6-year-old boy named Bryson Galaz was hit in the head by a ball thrown during pre-game warmups, resulting in a traumatic injury.
Last year, Bryson’s family announced their intention to file a lawsuit against the team in relation to the incident.
It seems that both cases involve allegations of injuries caused by baseballs thrown into the stands during different game situations.