Torts II, Pages 503–504

Salevan v. Wilmington Park, Inc.

Superior Court of Delaware, March 21, 1950

Facts:

Plaintiff was struck in the back by a foul baseball hit out of defendant's ball park.

Issue:

Is a baseball park owner liable for people on adjacent sidewalks being hit by foul balls when they have left the owner's land before?

Plaintiff's Argument:

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Defendant, as a landowner, has the duty to exercise reasonable care in the use of its land so as to prevent injury to travelers lawfully using the highways adjacent thereto. . . . [D]efendant had notice of the passage of baseballs outside of its park into East Thirtieth Street to the danger of persons using that public street, and that the failure of the defendant to take reasonable precautions to safeguard the public was negligence.

Rule:

A baseball park owner must take reasonable precautions to protect the public that have been previously shown to be necessary.

Reasoning:

While defendant put up a fence around surrounding land, balls have made it over this before, so he should know it could happen again.

Holding:

Yes, such a baseball park owner knows or should know about the danger and is liable for harms caused thereby. Judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of $2,500.

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