Parents of former Oklahoma high school pitcher win suit against baseball bat maker

Michael and Cathy Yeaman were awarded nearly $1 million in damages Friday by a federal jury, which found baseball bat makers Hillerich & Bradsby liable for the design of the Exogrid Model CB71X, and for failing to warn of the bat's dangers.
BY TIM WILLERT twillert@opubco.com Published: December 13, 2011
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More than five years after a Norman High School pitcher was struck in the face by a line drive, his parents have won a product liability claim against the maker of the aluminum bat used in the incident.

Michael and Cathy Yeaman were awarded nearly $1 million in damages Friday by a federal jury, which found bat makers Hillerich & Bradsby liable for the design of the Exogrid Model CB71X, and for failing to warn of the bat's dangers.

Dillon Yeaman was pitching in a summer league against Westmoore High on June 28, 2006, when he was struck in the face by a batted ball.

The impact broke his nose and the bone containing his eyeball. Yeaman, who was 15 at the time, underwent surgery that included the removal of tissue in the sinus cavity behind his forehead.

Plates also were implanted, and he was left with a large scar on his scalp.

Yeaman returned to action for Norman High in April 2007, wearing a protective mask over part of his face to avoid another injury.

The Yeamans sued the 100-year-old bat company, whose signature model is the Louisville Slugger, claiming in court documents that the bat's design was “defective and unreasonably dangerous … posing a “known risk of grave harm” to those using it.

Hillerich & Bradsby, the plaintiffs maintained, marketed the bat based upon “profit-driven motivations, and was consciously indifferent to the dangers which the bat posed.”



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