The Astros’ Orbit Cuts Down Woman With Tee-Shirt “Bazooka”

I am in Houston today and this story caught my eye on the way to Utah (which appears a much safer place in the absence of roaming, battery-causing mascots). Yes, we have another mascot-related sports torts case. Jennifer Harughty alleges the Astros mascot Orbit “shattered” her finger during a July 2018 game in Houston when she was hit by a flying tee-shirt fired from a “bazooka style” cannon. It is an all-too familiar claim as fans find themselves on the wrong end of a mascot projectile. She is suing for $1 million.

We previously discussed the torts case involving the Kansas City Royals mascot Slugerrr, who blew out a fan’s eye with a foil-covered hotdog launched with an air cannon. Then we discussed a similar lawsuit involving the Phillies’ after Kathy McVay was hit by a duct taped hotdog launched by the Phillies mascot Phanatic.

What is interesting is that we discussed the difference between such hotdog missiles and teeshirts. The latter seem less likely to injure but that is not the case with Harughty who clearly suffered a serious injury. She had to have two surgeries on a “shattered” index finger and the implanting of two screws. She was sitting halfway up the first deck behind the third base at the time of the incident.

These cases often raise Plaintiff conduct issues. First, the team argues that the fans are aware of the tradition and voluntarily come to the game. There are often warnings on the ticket or at the park, though she is using for the lack of such warnings. Second, if Harughty’s index finger was shattered, it appears that she must have been trying to catch the teeshirt, assuming the risk. Nevertheless, most people would not expect the force to be so great. She is claiming negligence and a lack of both warning and proper supervision.

This could be a rare case of a tightly bounded teeshirt hitting in just the wrong way. However, there is a valid negligence action here.

Even if the action fails, it could result in long-needed discovered into what exactly Orbit is as a mascot. Ok, I know that I am a Cubs fan, but I am not sure what Orbit is . . . other than some space alien who is cutting down innocent women with a teeshirt spewing weapon of destruction.

29 thoughts on “The Astros’ Orbit Cuts Down Woman With Tee-Shirt “Bazooka””

  1. In the Houston Astros’ T-shirt case, if I were defending it, i’d have medical experts review the plaintiff’s X-rays, any bone density scans she may have had done, and other evidence for a “glass jaw defense” – was she osteoporotic, even slightly?

    It’s really the Astros’ best chance to deny the plaintiff’s lawyers the preponderance of the facts pointing to their liability, or at least intimidate them into settling for less than the award initially sought.

    1. You should know that tortfeasors must take the Plaintiff as they found them. Even if the meds show her bones are potentially osteoporotic, that doesn’t change the liability aspect. I think the better course of defense is as JT implies; the assumption of risk, but I’m not sure that’s really a strong defense either under the few facts shown here.

  2. I could see how foil or duct taped hot dog projectiles could be dangerous, but did not think a T-shirt would be. I wonder if she caught it with her finger as it volleyed past and it was the speed that broke her finger? Or did she slip and catch her finger on a bleacher?

    Firing anything with a cannon at a crowd seems like a bad idea, no matter posted warnings. Just don’t do it. If the mascot wanted to throw T-shirts up to the crowd, that would be fine.

    We have become a hedonistic society, always needing more entertainment. As bored as any Roman emperor. Why isn’t the game enough?

    I thought $1 million excessive for a broken finger. If she needed surgeries and screws, that would be expensive. People shouldn’t get greedy on pain and suffering enhancements for accidents without malice. It’s supposed to make you as whole as possible, not a windfall.

    1. “Firing anything with a cannon at a crowd seems like a bad idea, no matter posted warnings.”

      No it doesn’t. I’ve got an idea, let’s get rid of the interstate highway system. In fact, let’s get rid of automobiles and go back to the horse and buggy. We’ll save millions of lives. We don’t need cars really. They’re just more convenient. Anyone who uses a car is reckless,.

    2. You are such a Faux News disciple: “or did she slip and catch her finger on a bleacher?” No one ever claimed this, but being the dumb Republican you are, if they did make such a claim, you’d believe it. This explains why, in the backward red state in which I live, comparative fault, assumption of risk, etc. is claimed in virtually every singe case, and every client I’ve ever had has been accused of malingering. I once represented a Catholic nun who was on her way to pick up an elderly senior she was going to transport to a doctor appointment, when her car was rear-ended, and she broke her leg. The insurance company lawyer actually suggested that Sister Maria’s pain might be magnified. The insurance companies hope that they can get enough dumbass know-it-alls like you on juries, who have no empathy for anyone and who are willing to believe that people who make claims are likely to be lying.

      If you are injured accidentally and suffer a lot of pain due to the nature of your injuries, if a jury awards you damages because of such suffering, the award must be based on proof, such as surgery, fractures, need for pain medication, physical therapy, and the like. Awarding damages for pain and suffering is not a “windfall”. You obviously haven’t undergone much pain or suffering, and/or don’t know anyone who has. Awards are made on the basis of evidence. There’s nothing “greedy” about wanting to be made whole. Money is all there is to compensate someone for pain and suffering. No one can turn back the clock or fix your body as if the injury never happened.

      On the other hand, if someone intentionally harms you, with malice, then there can be an award for punitive damages. It amazes me that you automatically believe that anyone who makes a claim is looking for money they don’t deserve. Then, again, you are a Faux News disciple.

        1. Substitute the word “reality” for your misidentifed “juvenile insults.” The fact that you either don’t recognize reality or dismiss it because it didn’t come from hannity or rush is of no matter. I too, used to practice in backward-ass red state, replete with ignorant buffoons who swallow the daily fraud of Pravda Faux News. Nice posting handle by the way. So sorry for your loss and your condition.

          this is to “I can’t use another name because the feds have my compound under surveillance” anon

  3. If they want to give away t-shirts, hot dogs or anything else, they should probably just draw seat numbers randomly or give people a numbered ticket when they enter and let the winner claim his/her prize at the concession stand. With t-shirts, you’d get to choose your size and color. Better than shooting projectiles at fans, which experience is teaching us can cause serious injuries.

    1. Or stay home – there’s this newfangled thingamabob called television. One could wrap themselves in bubble wrap, too.

  4. These freak accidents being chalked up to negligence are bothersome. As is the idea that you need to be warned about everything — the required warning: “place ladder on a level surface” comes to mind.

    But it creates more litigation for lawyers and judges. And that is a good thing for them.

    1. thats the way people think until they have an accident that hacks their arm off or stick them in a bed for life peeing into a tube. then suddenly they see the need for lawyers

      things are a lot safer here than in other countries for the simple reason that people love to complain about. lawyers. holding makers of unsafe things and reckless people accountable.

      1. “holding makers of unsafe things and reckless people accountable”

        The point is Kurtz, that isn’t what happened here. This was a freak accident. Sometimes people get hurt. That’s why everyone should have insurance.

        1. there is insurance it’s called CGL and for business invitees who get hurt it’s for their benefit

          if her claim is excessive, everyone will see through it an award an appropriate amount. there is no crisis here

            1. Frivolour or over-reaching litigation is one of the largest upward drivers of the cost of health care. Several US Senators (John Edwards being perhaps the most egregious example) have had their campaigns largely financed by Big Liability Law, dooming tort reform in this country,

  5. I heard on the internet that this woman went back to an Astros game and flipped the bird. That means that she stuck up her middle finger. It did not have a cast on it. When you flip the bird at someone you are saying something. The words are nasty and not acceptable on the blog. “ucFay You! ” is what she yelled when she flipped the bird.

  6. I wonder how she proves that the t-shirt actually hit her and that the injury wasn’t self inflicted. Why not just sue for the cost of her insurance co-pay or Dr. bills?

    1. She proves it like any other case; through sworn testimony from the witness stand. Oh ya, the sun rises in the east.

      this is to “I like to ask the hard questions” jimmie

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