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Popov v. Hayashi

Superior Court, San Francisco County, California
2002 WL 31833731 (2002)



Babe Ruth set the Major League Baseball home run record in 1927 with 60 home runs in a season. Roger Maris broke that record in 1961, hitting 61 home runs. Mark McGwire topped Maris in 1998 with 70 home runs. In 2001, Barry Bonds broke McGwire's record. Toward the end of the 2001 season, Barry Bonds was expected to break his own record, and fans began to congregate in the areas where he was most likely to hit a home run. On October 7, 2001, Bonds hit his 73rd home run. In the stands that day were Alex Popov (plaintiff) and Patrick Hayashi (defendant). As the ball reached the stands, Popov was able to make contact with the ball through his glove. As the ball entered the glove, Popov was attacked by those surrounding him, dislodging the ball. Hayashi was not involved in this attack. The ball then rolled to Hayashi, who placed it in his pocket until he was escorted by security to a secure area in the stadium. Popov brought a suit against Hayashi for ownership of the ball.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (McCarthy, J.)

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