Parents file suit against ex-owner of batting cage

December 14, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

The parents of a 4-year-old girl have filed suit against an Ellicott City man who owned a batting cage where the child was injured when she was struck in the face with a baseball bat.

Claudia and Richard Holman of Abingdon claim that the previous owner of A&C Grand Slam Inc. in Woodlawn was negligent in permitting baseball bats to be swung outside of the batting cages.

The couple's daughter, Kathleen Holman, received "serious, painful and permanent injuries" when she was hit by a bat swung by a teen-age boy on March 8, 1991, the suit says.

The Holmans are seeking $75,000 in damages from Al Sneddon of the 10300 block of John Eager Court in Ellicott City, according to the suit, which was filed in Howard Circuit Court on Dec. 2.

"[Mr. Sneddon] was negligent in that he allowed the boy to swing a bat outside of the designated batting cage . . . and knew or should have known that such behavior could cause injury to other patrons," the suit contends.

Mr. Sneddon, who sold Grand Slam in February, said that about a half-dozen signs were posted prohibiting patrons from swinging bats outside of the cages.

He declined further comment, saying he had not yet reviewed the suit.

The suit says the girl was walking behind Mr. Holman after leaving a gift shop at Grand Slam when she was struck in her mouth "violently, suddenly and without warning" by the bat.

The teen-ager, who was not named as a defendant, was swinging the bat in the pathway for patrons, the suit says.

The girl, who was 3 years old at the time, suffered injuries to her head, face, lips, mouth, teeth and gums, the suit says.

"All of the injuries and damages . . . were caused solely by the negligence, carelessness and recklessness of the defendant," the suit alleges.

Because of the incident, the girl will suffer from "intense pain and agony, mental anguish, embarrassment, future pain and suffering, psychic trauma, interference with the right to enjoy life, disfigurement and permanent disability," the suit says.

Stuart Blatt, a Baltimore attorney for the Holmans, said the impact of the bat shoved her front teeth into her gums, forced one tooth to cut through the girl's lip, and twisted another tooth.

The girl has already undergone orthodontic treatment for her teeth and will require plastic surgery to repair her lip, the attorney said.

Mr. Blatt said he does not have an estimate of the girl's medical expenses.

The Holmans have asked for a jury trial for the case, which has been assigned to Circuit Judge James Dudley.

The case has not been scheduled for a hearing.

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