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The hot dog-throwing mascot case has gone up to the supreme court and still continues on

Jun 25, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT


You may recall that a Kansas man sued the Kansas City Royals, alleging that a hot dog thrown by the team’s mascot — Sluggerrr — at a September 2009 game struck him in the eye and detached his retina. The case went to trial in 2011 and the Royals — and Sluggerr — won.  The plaintiff appealed. In early 2013 he won his appeal. The Royals appealed it to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the supreme court ruled in favor of the fan again, throwing out the  jury verdict for the last time and sending the case back for a re-trial.

Again: a case involving a guy in a lion suit throwing a hot dog at a guy is likely to enter its sixth year soon. And, I assume, a fact pattern involving a mascot throwing concessions at fans at a sporting event is also entering its sixth year as a fact pattern on first year torts exams in law schools around the country.


  1. sportsdrenched - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Re-Enter this story into the epic tome titled: “Weird Things that Involve the Kansas City Royals”

  2. stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I wonder what the total surgical cost and follow up is for a detached retina?

    I wonder what six years of litigation costs? And it’s not over yet.

    Not choosing sides. This sounds like a waste for everyone involved.

    • grumpyoleman - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      My insurance company was charged over $20,000 for mine last year. Not sure what they actually paid out but it isn’t cheap.

      • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        Agreed it isn’t cheap. But that’s not many billable legal hours. They probably burned that in the original depositions six years ago.

      • grumpyoleman - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        I agree. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know if legal fees, pain and suffering, and so on figure into something like this either. Took a quick look but can’t find how much he is actually suing for.

  3. jfk69 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Ralphie: I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!

    Mrs. Parker: No, you’ll shoot your eye out. I will take you a ball game and get you a hot dog instead.

  4. natstowngreg - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    The little red plastic cards that contain my electronic Nats (half) season tickets say:

    “WARNING: Holder assumes all risk, danger and injury, incidental to the game of baseball or related activities (before, during or after the playing of any game), and releases and holds harmless M.L.B., the Clubs, their respective owners, shareholders, partners, agents, players, officers, directors, contractors and employees from and against any damages or claims arising from injuries or loss or damage of personal property resulting from such causes, whether or not any injury or loss is caused by any person’s negligence or otherwise.”

    I assume Royals’ (and every other MLB team’s) tickets have the same language. So it’s puzzling that this suit went anywhere in the first place.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      I suppose one could argue that a mascot throwing hot dogs is not really “incidental to the game of baseball. or related activities.” If he was hit by a batted ball it would be one thing. A lion chucking processed pork products is apparently another matter altogether.

      • tedwmoore - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        You sure it wasn’t a beef frank?

    • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      A hold harmless like that is not totally worthless, but it really doesn’t hold that much weight. If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, you still have standing in court.

    • jfk69 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Standard BS legalese. Look at the ticket for your car at any wedding,parking garage or valet service. Any good lawyer can find negligence and mitigating circumstances anywhere. If you have deep pockets my guy will look even harder. As it is worth his time. That is why they take the case on contingency. Ambulance chasers are the best. But they take the fast money.

  5. chadjones27 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    I think the Phillie Phanatic is still the most sued mascot in U.S. professional sports.

    I wonder if the San Diego Chicken ever got into this much legal trouble.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      He is the most sued mascot – but being sued 57 times by Tommy Lasorda for slander inflated the numbers :)

      • mazblast - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        One time for each half inch of Tommy’s waistline?

      • mazblast - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        That came out wrong. One time for each two inches of Tommy’s waistline?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        heh-heh…I can’t do math either way!

  6. earpaniac - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    My workers comp case has been going on for a decade, and the facts aren’t in dispute. They just keep delaying because the longer they hold on to that money, the more money they make.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Hang in there. I hope it works out for you.

    • jfk69 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      Workers comp and dealing with the State Ins. Fund are the worst. I feel for you. Next time drag yourself home and file on your home owners policy.

    • mazblast - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      You have my sympathies. My then-82-year-old mother got knocked down by a backing car while in a crosswalk last year (broken elbow, surgery, rehab, etc.), and the driver’s insurance company is playing the usual games, over and over. We’ve instructed her lawyer to tell the insurance company that the amount for which we’re willing to sue keeps going up faster than the amount they can possibly earn on the settlement amount. If they can play games, so can we.

      Good luck!

  7. 4cornersfan - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    The trial judge thinks that getting hit in the eye with a hot dog is an inherent risk of attending a baseball game? What kind of savages are they in Kansas City? Citizens of Missouri should be thankful for their appellate courts .

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