Ex-Columbian files $100,000 suit against county for a broken nose

September 06, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A former Columbia man has sued the county Department of Recreation and Parks for $100,000, claiming the agency failed to maintain playing fields during an April 1991 softball tournament in which he was injured.

Steven C. Collins of Boca Raton, Fla., states in the suit that he received a broken nose when he was struck by a softball after slipping on wet, tall grass at Rockburn Branch Park in Columbia.

"The field was muddy and the grass was soaked," said Mr. Collins' attorney, John W. Hermina of Laurel. "The play he did was a routine play. He didn't run or stretch. He was wearing baseball cleats and still slipped."

Jeffrey Bourne, director of the Recreation and Parks Department, declined to comment on the case. He said the agency has not

been served with a copy of the suit.

Mr. Collins claims in the suit, filed in Howard County Circuit Court last Friday, that the recreation department was negligent in that it did not keep the park's playing fields in safe condition during the tournament, April 20-21, 1991.

The department should have rescheduled the tournament because of the rainy weather, the suit states. The county had rain dates set up for the following week but did not postpone the games.

Mr. Collins, 29, paid $110 to participate in the tournament, playing for a team called the Durham Bulls.

On April 20, Mr. Collins called a telephone number provided by the county to see if the games were still scheduled because of the cloudy skies and rainy weather, the suit states. A prerecorded message said the games were to be played as scheduled.

During an afternoon game, Mr. Collins, who was playing shortstop, dropped back for a routine fly ball, the suit states. As he moved from the infield dirt into the outfield grass, he slipped and was hit by the ball.

Mr. Collins went to the Howard County General Hospital emergency room for treatment, the suit states.

Mr. Hermina said his client was not able to sleep for two nights from the pain caused by the broken nose.

Three days after the tournament, the plaintiff went to a Rockville doctor who told him that the injury would require surgery, Mr. Hermina said. Mr. Collins spent about $8,000 for medical treatment and missed about six days of work because of the injury.

Mr. Collins moved from Howard County in June 1991, Mr. Hermina said.

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