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October 29, 2009 (by Horatio Algren) According to reports a jury has found an aluminum bat maker liable in the death of a Miles City American Legion baseball pitcher.
The civil suit stemmed from the death of Miles City American Legion pitcher Brandon Patch age 18, in 2003 and a Hillerich & Bradsby Co. aluminum baseball bat. During a game against the Helena Senators, they used the aluminum bat and according to experts Patch had 378 miliseconds to be in a defensive stance. Patch was struck on the head by the ball and collapsed on the mount and died approximately four hours later from the head injuries.
The 12 Lewis and Clark County jurors ordered Hillerich and Bradsby Co. to pay $792,000 to Patches estate. According to Debbie Patch, mother of the pitcher this suit was for all the players on the field, and to get this out in the open. She stated they went into the civil suit unsure and wants parents and players to have adequate warning about the dangers of aluminum bats. Debbie Patch believes all teams should use wooden bats, like professional teams use. She went on to say the aluminum bats due to the internal wall structure and weight make them easier to swing harder and faster.
According to the attorneys for Hillerich & Bradsby Co. any other type of bat would have hit the ball harder and it would not have traveled differently. They stated that Patch’s death was a tragic accident and had no comment after the verdict was read.
The verdict was read in the courtroom of District Judge Kathy Seeley and after 12 hours of deliberation. The jury found that the company that manufactures Louisville Slugger bats was liable in the death of Patch for failure to warn users of the aluminum bat of the dangers.
The money awarded in the civil suit was to cover lost earnings the 18 year old pitcher would have made and the pain he suffered from being struck in the temple until his death approximately 4 hours later.
Patch’s parents Debbie and Duane Patch were awarded $58,000 in another suit in 2006 that was to cover funeral costs and maternal grief, by a five man and seven woman jury.
Tort Attorney at Ehline Law | Los Angeles Injury Lawyer PC is watching to see if this case is appealed.