Frivolous Lawsuits in Sports

It could happen to you

Frivolous lawsuits take place all the time and the world of sports is by no means immune.  We get calls from people who want information on insurance because they are required to have it, not because they want it. Wear hear these comments all the time:

  • “We’ve never had a claim.”
  • “It wouldn’t happen to us, everyone likes our league.”
  • “We make everyone provide their own insurance, so we’re not responsible.”

Wow! Simply WOW!  These days, it’s no longer a question of if you’ll get sued, it’s WHEN you’ll get sued.   And asFrivolous Lawsuit2 often as not, it’s not what you did or didn’t do. It’s what someone perceives that you did or didn’t do that that can land you or your organization at the defendant’s table in a courtroom.   If you are involved in any capacity, whether as a coach, administrator, player, or volunteer, there is no other option than to make sure that your organization has coverage to pay in case you need the defense.

Below are just a few examples of  lawsuits that will make you make you say, “Hmm?”

  • Rodney Carroll, coach of the 16 & under Brunswick (Ohio) Cobras baseball team, was sued for $2000 by the father of his catcher after a 0-15 season in 1999. The grounds? Crummy coaching
  • Jason Abbitt sued the Vallejo (California) Babe Ruth Baseball League for 80 percent of his signup fee in 2002 because he only played in 20 percent of the games.  He sought $65, or $65 for every hit he had that season.

And these two stories were featured in Liable to Laugh 2004 (American Specialty Companies):

The parents of players on opposing teams became involved in a fistfight during a youth soccer game. The loser of the fight (who also was the aggressor) filed suit against his opponent and the soccer league because of his moderately severe injuries.  He alleged that the soccer league was negligent because it failed to control his behavior when they realized, or should have realized, that he was out of control. The soccer league, by the way, was for 5- and 6-year-old girls.

A child was playing in the outfield in a youth baseball league when he missed a fly ball that struck him in the face, causing facial fractures.  The parents sued the league and the coach, claiming that they knew or should have known that the claimant had sight problems and, therefore, should not have been allowed to play in the outfield.

And then there are the crazy claims that never make it to the court room, such as the woman who tried to file a claim because, as she was driving by a youth baseball field,  a baseball flew over the fence and through her back window hitting her bird cage  and releasing her prized pet.