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Edward C. v. City of Albuquerque

New Mexico Supreme Court
241 P.3d 1086 (2010)


Facts

The son of Edward C. (plaintiff) was struck in the head by a baseball hit by Dave Matranga (defendant), a player for a minor league baseball team, the Albuquerque Isotopes (Isotopes) (defendant), during pre-game batting practice at the team’s stadium. The child was seated with his family in the picnic area when, without warning, the baseball struck the child in the head fracturing his skull. Edward C. and his wife (plaintiffs), on behalf of their son, failed a negligence suit against the Albuquerque Baseball Club, LLC, owners of the Isotopes, the City of Albuquerque (the City), Matranga, and others (defendants). The trial court concluded that the “baseball rule” applied to the claim, which limited the defendants’ duty to attendees at the game to provide screening for the area of the field directly behind home plate. Because the Isotopes’ stadium had such screening, the trial court concluded that defendants did not violate any duty of care. The trial court awarded summary judgment to the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed. The court of appeals reversed summary judgment with respect to the City and the Isotopes on the ground that the baseball rule did not apply and, instead, the defendants owed a duty to exercise ordinary care. The New Mexico Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the state should recognize a limited duty for owner/occupants of commercial baseball stadiums.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Chavez, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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