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The Mets have another heavy lawsuit on their hands

Mar 21, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT

lawsuit gavel

It was nearly four years ago when I first heard the name Ellen Massey. She’s the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Mets that, while not as sexy as the Madoff stuff, has its own special appeal: On Opening Day, 2007, Massey was fallen on by a 300-pound man who came hurtling out of his seat in her direction, breaking her vertebrae. Massey says the fat guy was drunk and that the Mets are liable because they continued to serve him despite his obvious intoxication.

My take when I first heard about this case — a mere month after I began blogging back at Shysterball — was that Massey had a theoretically a valid claim: ballpark serves an obviously intoxicated man who later causes injury. The problem, though, was that it would be really hard to actually marshal any evidence.  The falling fat guy’s identity was unknown at the time and it wasn’t at all clear how he could be discovered. And it would likely be difficult to prove that he was intoxicated given that he left the park and there was no police report or anything.  I figured it was deadsville.

Yet, despite all of my skepticism, the case is going to trial, reports the New York Post.  Over the past four years Ms. Massey has learned the fat guy’s identity — Timothy Cassidy — and got the depositions of multiple witnesses speaking to his behavior prior to the incident. That’s enough to get her past the summary judgment stage and now she gets to take the Mets to trial.

If I represented the Mets, I’d rather be handling that case than the Madoff case. I always enjoyed the stuff with actual humanity much better than document-intensive financial cases. And there isn’t much more humanity than a 300 pound drunk guy falling on people in Shea Stadium on Opening Day.

  1. Old Gator - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    You sound awfully nostalgic for the halls of justice lately, Craig. The sooner the season begins in earnest, the better, I think.

  2. uyf1950 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    I’m sensing that there isn’t going to be a lot of love here for drunk fat guys. Question though is this drunk fat guy part of the suit? And can he sue the Mats for continuing to serve him if he was drunk?

    • uyf1950 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:43 PM

      oops, should have been Mets not mats. Sorry.

      • spudchukar - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:44 PM

        What did the Yankees have a day off and give the bullpen Mets tickets? Timothy Cassidy, likely alias.

      • Glenn - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        Mats everywhere are insulted.

  3. Dan in Katonah - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    If only he had fallen on Ollie, it would have saved us so much money and heartache.

  4. Utley's Hair - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    And to think, I was under the impression that stuff like this only happened in Philly. WTF?

    • Old Phaithful - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:10 PM

      It happens all over the place Ut. You just only hear about it when it happens in Philly.

      • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:06 AM

        In Feelie, he would have puked on the woman before jumping on her.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:43 AM

      Don’t worry – it was a Philly fan who made the trip. Order has now been restored.

  5. nyyankeefanforever - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM

    Hmmm…according to that Post article, the fat guy was pushed by another dude named Eric Metzger in the midst of an argument. I don’t see how this gal has a case against the venue. Why isn’t she suing Metzger, or the fat guy who landed on her, for that matter? Friggin golddiggers. This is why we need tort reform. I hope when she loses the Mets nail her for all their costs and bankrupt her.

  6. Jonny 5 - Mar 22, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    They serve you in your seat, therefore have little insight as to how drunk you are unless you get up to get a beer. A guy in the middle of a row will just hand his money down and get his beer passed down to him. I don’t see how they can tell while serving you how drunk you are, so she may actually have a case based on negligence. If they do rule in her favor, you may kiss being served in your seat goodbye.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 22, 2011 at 9:09 AM

      Legally, you can always be liable for how much alcohol you serve a patron of yours. Ms. Massey still needs to prove that the Phillies staff did serve him too much, but liability doesn’t go way because you don’t make the patron come to you.

  7. BC - Mar 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    How on earth do they expect to win the case if they don’t have a breathalyzer or blood test from the guy at the time? How do they know he was drunk? I think this one is getting dismissed out of hand.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 22, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      It’s already past the dismissal stage: next stop is either settlement or trial.

      They can establish his drunkenness from his behavior prior to the incident. There are witnesses who say he was loud, obnoxious and more or less acting like a big drunken lout would act. That’s enough to withstand summary judgment.

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