Thursday, March 17, 2011

MLB Umpire Ed Hickox Wins Product Liability Lawsuit

In 2005 umpire Ed Hickox was working home plate and wearing a mask given to him by a Wilson Sporting Goods representative. According to a complaint filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, during the game at RFK Stadium "a foul ball struck the throat guard of Plaintiff's mask. The impact dislodged the mask's metal frame from the rest of the mask. The ball's force pushed the frame into Plaintiff's ear canal, then pushed the entire mask completely off of Plaintiff's head and onto the ground. The Plaintiff suffered numerous injuries, including but not excluding, a concussion, broken bones in his left ear, and an inner-ear fluid leak from his right ear."  Hickox had surgery to remove the broken ear bone and have it replaced with a titanium prosthesis.

Nasty business.

Hickox sued Wilson Sporting Goods claiming the company was responsible for failing to adequately test the mask before issuing it to him, and because the mask failed to adequately protect his face. Hickox wrote in his complaint “An ordinary customer would expect the umpire’s mask, built to protect the umpire’s face from stray baseballs, not to harm Plaintiff when a baseball strikes the mask.”

Last Friday a D.C. jury awarded Hickox and his wife Lisa $775,000.

Patrick Regan, attorney for Hickox and his wife, told The Blog of Legal Times that Wilson performed more tests on the mask after the injury to Hickox, but did not say what, if any, changes were made to the mask’s design. Attorneys for Wilson say an appeal of the jury verdict is likely.


Anonymous said...

good for ed and his judgement...had it been an ordinary umpire and not a major league umpire who sustained these injuries not much would have been done...but ed is a major league umpire and is high profile and can afford good attorneys whereas the avg joe cannot...he deserved his awarding..thats the problem with equipment these days is the testing is very subpar without scientific evidence to back up claims...thats another reason i dont wear nothing wilson...good for ed .....his action probably saved many other umpires from injuries as wilson was forced to make changes to this mask in question

boyinr said...

I wonder which model he was wearing? I am not a fan of the Wilson masks. I do like their CP's and SG. The frames are too heavy and I have read too many negative comments concerning bending on impacts.

Maybe this will push the manufacturers to develop some type of certification and standardized testing. I only know of one company that makes thier mask testing public and that is the only masks that I wear.