As the swift wheels of justice roll on, Byron Shores—better known as Royals mascot Sluggerrr—took the stand for a second time in a lawsuit filed by John Coomer regarding a hot dog that Sluggerrr threw at his face during a bit of fan interaction between innings of a game in 2009. Coomer was not paying attention to the action on the field, instead choosing to look at the stadium scoreboard, and as a result sustained a detached retina, which required a cataract procedure. He also suffered other vision impairments.
Coomer was initially found to be 100 percent at fault by a Jackson, Missouri jury, but an appellate court reversed the decision. The Royals then appealed that decision, taking the case to the Missouri Supreme Court, where
William Jennings Bryan Coomer's appellate counsel successfully argued that the jury was improperly instructed to consider whether absorbing a projectile tube of meat to the face is an inherent risk of attending a Royals game. That was a question for the judge to decide and the jury should have only been tasked with determining whether Sluggerrr's actions constituted negligence. The case was remanded to the trial court to decide this issue. So here we are.
Sluggerrr, who was represented by
Clarence Darrow Jackie Chiles Scott Hofer, gave the following testimony.
Shores demonstrated for the jury his various tosses: the overhand, the underhand, the "grenade" throw.
"I would throw hot dogs behind my back, but not with any velocity," Shores said.
Unfortunately, under cross examination, Sluggerrr was forced to admit that it was "reasonable for people to expect you not to drill them [in the eye with a hot dog]." Put another way, Sluggerrr was asked about a specific element of negligence—whether he had a reasonable duty not to drill someone in the eye with a hot dog at a baseball game—and said yes. The rest of the elements—breach, causation, and damages—are also present according to Coomer's allegations.
Sluggerrr very clearly breached his duty not to drill someone in the eye with a hot dog at a baseball game because he drilled John Coomer in the eye with a hot dog at a baseball game. John Coomer sustained vision loss as a direct result of the hot dog being thrown into his eye (causation), and has hospital bills and other monetary losses as a result (damages).
According to the Kansas City Star, testimony will likely continue today.