Jury awards Little Leaguer $1.7M in suit against borough, athletic associations

A 14-year-old Pittsburgh boy who sustained permanent brain damage during a Little League game on the day before his 12th birthday recently won a $1.7 million settlement against a borough and two athletic associations. Zachary Hoffman received the settlement for injuries, pain and suffering caused when a foul ball hit him on April 13, 2015, while he was in a dugout at Chadwick Field in Sewickley, PA. Zachary was badly injured causing long-term damage, his attorneys said in a news release.

Zachary was in the first base dugout watching his teammates bat when the ball went through an open area in the fencing—between where the backstop ends and the dugout begins—and struck him in the left side of his head near the temple area. Zachary sustained a fractured skull and intense bleeding in his brain, which caused permanent brain damage. He continues to suffer symptoms and cannot attend school on a regular basis because of the symptoms, his attorneys claimed in the lawsuit filed in March 2016.

Zachary’s attorney, Alan Perer, said the dugout was not properly protected by a fence, which is required by Little League safety regulations at fields across the country. As a result of not having the safety measure in place, an Allegheny County jury found Sewickley borough, and the Avonworth and Quaker Valley Athletic Associations responsible for the Zachary’s injuries and awarded the settlement.

Little League spokesman Kevin Fountain issued the following statement: “Everyone at Little League International is heartbroken when we learn of injuries like this and, sadly, this accident and injury did occur within a Little League program.

“Because the local program does not carry the insurance coverages offered by Little League International, which require reporting of injuries and/or accidents, we were unaware of this unfortunate incident prior to today. Our thoughts are with the young boy and his family.”