State Court Upholds Questionable Bystander Liability Claim

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The Montana Supreme Court recently upheld the imposition of liability on a bat manufacturer for allegedly failing to warn about the dangers of aluminum bats. Patch v. Hillerich & Bradsby Co., d/b/a Louisville Slugger, No. DA 10-0051 (Mont. 7/21/11). Bad facts made bad law here.

Many people consider The Natural to be one of the greatest sports movies of all time, and those that think deep thoughts have asserted that the screenplay (presumably not the book too?) was based in part on the story of Sir Percival from the Arthurian myths, with the broken bat "Wonderboy" taking the part of the knight's broken sword. Had Roy Hobbs used an aluminum bat, that aspect of the story would have been lost. Since their introduction in the early 1970's, aluminum bats have become quite popular in youth and amateur adult baseball and softball markets. The new bats are often touted as having a wider sweet spot, more power, better feel, or higher performance. It is pretty much accepted that balls come off metal bats faster than they do from wood bats, but this aspect of performance has fueled an ongoing metal/wood issue in some circles.

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