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Court: Bat maker not liable for pitcher's injuries

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 30, 2014 at 4:59 pm •  Published: June 30, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma man who was seriously injured by a line drive during a 2006 high school baseball game isn't entitled to a nearly $1 million award from the manufacturer of the bat used to hit the ball, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

Dillon Yeaman was a 15-year-old pitcher for Norman High School when a line drive struck him in the face, breaking his frontal and nasal bones and fracturing the orbital walls of both eyes. Yeaman lost his sense of smell, had a mesh plate inserted in his forehead and had his nose rebuilt with titanium, according to court records.

Yeaman and his family sued Hillerich & Bradsby, the Kentucky company that made the Louisville Slugger Exogrid bat, claiming the bat was defective because it propelled the ball too fast.

A jury awarded the family $950,000, but the company appealed and a judge set aside that verdict. The judge determined that the Yeamans did not provide sufficient evidence that a defect in the bat made it unreasonably dangerous, or that there was a dangerous characteristic of the bat that triggered a duty on the part of the company to warn the public.

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