By Jarett L. Warner
A high school baseball player, who claims that his coach intentionally maimed him by throwing a baseball at him, has started a lawsuit against his school and the coach. Plaintiff Christopher Mallette commenced an action against defendants Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop Ford Center Catholic High School and Dharyl Russell.
The lawsuit alleges that on March 2, 2010, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Assistant Baseball Coach Dharyl Russell struck Christopher Mallette in the face with a baseball, at Bishop Ford Center Catholic High School, located in Brooklyn, New York. As a result, the plaintiff alleges that he sustained unspecified personal injuries.
In his lawsuit, the plaintiff asserts eight separate causes of action against each defendant. He alleges that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the high school are vicariously liable (based on respondeat superior) for the actions of their employee, agent and/or servant, Russell. The plaintiff’s causes of action are as follows:
• Battery, alleging that Russell intentionally, willfully and maliciously placed the plaintiff in the fear of imminent harm or offensive conduct or battery;
• Assault, alleging that Russell intentionally, willfully and maliciously placed the plaintiff in fear of imminent harmful or offensive contact or battery;
• Prima facie tort, alleging that Russell by his intentional conduct and for the purpose of causing severe mental distress, recklessly conducted himself in a manner that included assault, battery and abuse of the plaintiff and that the conduct “was so outrageous and shocking that it exceeded all reasonable bounds of decency tolerated by the average member of the community”;
• Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, alleging that by his actions Russell intentionally caused the plaintiff to suffer severe emotional distress;
• Negligence, alleging that Russell negligently, carelessly and/or recklessly caused a baseball to strike the plaintiff in the face and head;
• Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, alleging that Russell breached a duty to refrain from endangering the plaintiff’s safety and/or causing the plaintiff to fear for his physical safety when he negligently, carelessly and/or recklessly threw the baseball at the plaintiff;
• Negligent Supervision and Security, alleging that the assault and battery upon the plaintiff was caused in whole or part by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the high school’s negligent, careless and reckless breach of duty of care with respect to safety, welfare and security of the premises and the plaintiff and failure to exercise proper control over Russell due to, among other things, negligently training, hiring and/or supervision of staff and inadequate staff; and
• Negligent hiring, retention and supervision, alleging that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the high school breached a duty with respect to the hiring, retention, training, supervision and/or disciplining of Russell.
The plaintiff seeks an amount in damages that exceeds the jurisdictional limits of all lower Courts, along with punitive damages.
Various newspaper articles reflect that as a result of the incident, the plaintiff fractured his right eye socket and cheekbone and crushed his sinus cavity and required the insertion of three metal plates in his face.
The case is pending in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Kings County and is in its very early stages.
Jarett L. Warner concentrates his practice in defending sports and recreational venues and operators, construction companies and premises owners and managers in personal injury actions. He has guest lectured at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education’s Masters in Sports Management Program, where he spoke on the topic of “Torts and Sports Law—Intentional Torts and Negligence.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.