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Injured youth receives $14.5 million after being hit by liner

Aug 22, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

Stephen Domalewski

The family of Steven Domalewski received $14.5 million to settle its lawsuit with Little League Baseball, The Sports Authority and Hillerich and Bradsby on Wednesday.

Domalewski, then nine, was struck in the chest by a line drive while pitching in a Police Athletic League game in 2006. He went into cardiac arrest, and while paramedics were able to get him breathing again, he was left with brain damage after going 15-20 minutes without oxygen.

“The Domalewskis are still saddened by the tragic events of June 2006, but this settlement provides them with some relief and comfort that Steven will get the care he needs for the rest of his life,” said the family’s attorney, Ernest Fronzuto. “He still can’t perform any functions of daily life on his own.”

Although Domalewski wasn’t playing in a Little League game, Little League Baseball did sanction the Louisville Slugger metal bat that was used to hit the liner. The Sports Authority sold the bat, and Hillerich and Bradsby manufactured it. Now each is out millions of dollars because of some very bad luck.

Of course, young Steven’s life was ruined by the incident. Ideally, this money will be used to make sure he’s provided for and treated well. Still, one imagines there will be enough left over for shiny new cars and island getaways for the family and lawyers.

107 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. barrywhererufrom - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I coach my year old son in Little League. I applaud the verdict. Players who pitch must wear protective heart guards. For someone who pitched their whole lives we never feared a situation like this. This is a parents’ worst nightmare. Playing a sport that a child enjoys and their lives are changed for the worse. The sadness I have for this child and his family is something we all should feel. The idea that someone would be so depraved and speak about the money left over is sickening. That family and child would never be the same. I can’t even give someone the excuse that they do not have a child and they could not relate. One would hope that at least one time people would leave their cyncical nature at home.

    • stac266 - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      Agree. That last comment was pretty shallow.

  2. williplett - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    I’ve decided to chime in with the chorus: Matthew, those last comments were ill conceived and painfully insensitive to the family and this young man. It’s pretty obvious that most of their money will go to pay for the last six years of medical bills and the ones this eighteen year old young man will be incurring for the rest of his life…which he will spend basically unable to fend for himself in a wheelchair. The internet is ripe with poorly placed snark, but this somehow stands out. After all, these companies and the organization SETTLED in this case.

    You can, and have, done better than this.

    • atlsp - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      And if I may elaborate slightly with a technicality, it likely wasn’t the companies that settled but rather the attorneys representing the companies’ liability insurers. Those companies (and Little League Baseball) aren’t paying a penny aside from whatever deductible/coinsurance they may have.

      I hope that the $14.5M is enough to give this young man the best care he can possibly receive for the rest of his life, and I do hope there is plenty “leftover” to help he and his family enjoy what is left of their lives since the unfortunate incident.

  3. larryhockett - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    I usually try to be polite and diplomatic even when posting on internet forums where such behavior is rare. I’m going to break that rule on this occasion and I would say the same to you face-to-face if the opportunity arose: F-U Matthew. It’s bad enough that you are jaded and hard-hearted enough to form those thoughts but it sinks to a new level of despicable behavior to use your position to broadcast your completely unfounded and uneducated opinions on this matter. You know not of what you speak and I can only hope that you learn from this shameful incident.

  4. bigtunany - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Maybe some of my reaction is stemming from the fact that there wasn’t really any callous, mean-spiritedness in your previous posts. But that last comment was shocking. Do you really think his family wouldn’t give back every cent of this settlement to have their boy healthy and whole again? Do you really think money is a consolation for their stupendous loss?

    Time to take a week off, Matthew. Something toxic built up.

    • keithbangedyermom - Aug 22, 2012 at 6:52 PM

      Clearly not a parent.

  5. formerfed - Aug 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    WHO IS THIS GUY, MATTHEW POULIOT? Take a week off? i think that a 1-year layoff with no pay. Maybe working as a volunteer in a children’s hospital…………..terminal ill section.

  6. ricks2214 - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    My feeling towards this is that as a father and having played little league is that there is risk that come with playing sports. Unfortunately what happened is a parents worse nightmare but how does Louisville Slugger and Sports Authority get sued. Little league baseball make bats especially for the safety of kids to have almost the same velocity of the best wooden bats made. It was a freak accident!!! I could understand if they did testing on the bat and found out that is model slipped through the cracks but if it is regulated than what is the issue? By suing and winning, what is different by me getting in a car accident and getting injured, can I sue the car company cause they told me it was safe. As by that said, I’m sorry for there pain and suffering but isn’t that what health insurance is for.

    • nightman13 - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:18 PM

      If you’re lucky enough to have insurance. And even then most insurance only covers 70%. You’re talking about a minimum of $5,000 out of pocket with insurance.

      • ricks2214 - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:39 PM

        I really wouldn’t worry about the out of pocket money. They would end up doing a fund raiser for the family. Look my friend’s mom was the lady that was insulted by the kids on the bus and she made $750,000 +.

  7. hushbrother - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    This is America, and rule number one in America is, never sue the poor.

  8. deadrabbit79 - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    You have to feel bad for the kid and his family, but 14.5mm?? I just dont see anyone being at fault for this. It was a terrible accident during a game that the kid was a willing participant i assume.

  9. ahenobarbuso - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Where were the waivers saying he couldn’t sue that I had to sign when I played little league sports?

    Sure it is sad whenever someone gets injured, and I understand all these overly emotional replies, but I really think this kid’s family had no right to sue! Settling, even though it makes the companies look all nice and caring was a mistake as well as it is only going to set a precedent for more of these types of lawsuits.

    Also, it is unlikely the kid would have even made $1 million dollars in his entire lifetime let alone $14.5. Where did that number come from? Medical costs? Insurance would have covered most of those costs; I would estimate the family would only have to pay around $50,000 out of pocket at the most. He may very well rehab successfully after one to two years as well. A better settlement, if there had to be one, would have just been to have the family send in the medical bills and have the company(s) reimburse those, not the ridiculously over-sized lump sum.

    As I see it this is a case of a greedy lawyer approaching a grieving family just so he or she can profit off their misfortune. I bet the lawyer took half of that settlement…

  10. stercuilus65 - Aug 23, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    Mathhew was spot on with the last sentence. It’s the truth. For all the easily offended, get over it.

  11. scottv31 - Aug 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    That last line is something a cynical a$$hole would write, I knew you were cynical, but now the other part is confirmed. Agree lawyers don’t deserve their cut, but if you had a kid you’d understand.

    • ahenobarbuso - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Having a child or not has nothing at all to do with understanding this situation. I remember reading in the newspaper about a local child who was in the stands that was struck by a foul ball in the side of the head and died during a game. Yes it was a terribly sad event, but the family did take it upon themselves to sue all these companies trying to profit from his death. And frankly that is all it is, greedy people, be it the lawyers or the family, trying to profit from an unfortunate event.

      I could somewhat understand there being grounds to sue if the child was intentionally put in harm’s way, like being forced to play catcher without appropriate gear or bat without a helmet, or if the baseball bats had a defect that made them explode and send scrap metal everywhere or something. But a bat is supposed to hit a ball, and as I see it the league was playing a routine game. “The Sports Authority” had absolutely no reason at all to be mentioned in the lawsuit let alone take part in the settlement. It is a pity companies are so worried about negative publicity that they are forced to settle in situations like these.

      No one was at fault, as I see it this no different than the family suing the batter and his family for everything they own and sending them to jail for murder.

      • ahenobarbuso - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        Yes it was a terribly sad event, but the family didn’t take it upon themselves to sue all these companies trying to profit from his death

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