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Senate Approves Bryant’s ‘New Jersey Baseball Spectator Safety Act Of 2005″

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Wayne R. Bryant that would help protect baseball team owners from civil lawsuits filed by injured spectators hit by balls was approved today by the Senate.

“All adults should know the basic safety precautions to take at any sporting event,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester. “To me it is common sense that if you are at a baseball game, or any sporting event for that matter, you should be aware of your surroundings. Patrons must understand that it is their responsibility to be alert.”

Senator Bryant’s bill, S-2930, would establish a scope of liability for baseball owners. The bill would immunize owners against spectator lawsuits under which an “assumption of risk” could have prevented injury to a spectator.

According to the measure, an “assumption of risk” is defined as the fact that spectators of professional baseball games would be presumed to have an understanding of the inherent risks of observing the games, such as being hit with a stray ball or bat during the game.

Team owners would be required to provide protection for spectators in the most dangerous sections of the stands by erecting a safety net behind home plate.

“I authored this bill in response to a lawsuit that was brought against a team owner by a spectator who was hit by a foul ball. There are risks associated with attending sporting events, and occasionally people do get hurt. Team owners should not be held liable for patrons’ lack of awareness of their surroundings,” said Senator Bryant.