Case details

Batting cage owner failed to repair hole in safety netting: suit





Result type

Not present

orchiopexy, testicle, urological
At around 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2016, plaintiff Craig Lefebvre, 23, a coach for NC Valley Baseball’s U10 baseball team, was preparing to leave NC Valley Baseball’s batting cage facility, located at 4825 Stratos Way, Suite C, in Modesto. However, as Lefebvre walked through a walkway area that separated the netted number two and number three batting lanes, he stopped as a parent of one of his U10 players approached him. While Lefebvre spoke to the parent, a player hitting batting practice in the number three batting lane struck a ball that travelled through the safety netting that ran between the number three batting lane and the walkway area. Although it was unknown whether a hole in the safety netting along the number three batting lane pre-existed the foul ball, it was uncontested that a ball travelled through the netting and struck Lefebvre in the groin. As a result, Lefebvre sustained to a testicle. Lefebvre sued the owner of the facility, NC Valley Baseball, LLC. Daniel Ayala was also initially named as a defendant, but Ayala was ultimately dismissed from the case during discovery. Thus, the matter continued to trial against NC Valley Baseball only. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that NC Valley Baseball had installed used, donated netting during the initial installation of the facility in July 2012 and that, despite a minimum of 30 repairs to the netting over the next 3.5 years, NC Valley Baseball never replaced the netting at the subject location. Counsel also contended that in addition to other deficiencies, — such as deficiencies with signage, warnings, and instructions, — NC Valley Baseball admitted that it had no procedure in place to inspect the netting, no documentation to track repairs, and no formal instruction relative to the use of the walkway area. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that the nets were ultimately destroyed 10 days after the subject incident, when NC Valley Baseball changed to a new facility, and contended that there was evidence that NC Valley Baseball had new nets available to install at the time of the incident. In addition, plaintiff’s counsel noted that NC Valley Baseball’s director of day-to-day operations, and person most knowledgeable regarding safety protocol and procedure, testified that “double netting,” something that was present between the batting lanes, but not along the walkway area, would have reduced the possibility of injury to 0 percent. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel argued that NC Valley Baseball had notice of the defective nature of the nets and that a reasonable inspection procedure or safety program would have revealed the dangerous condition prior to the incident. In addition, counsel argued that NC Valley Baseball failed to properly design the facility, both in its placement of the walkway between two batting lanes and its failure to “double net” the walkway area. Defense counsel argued that it was well known and “common knowledge” for people at the facility to not use the walkway area during active batting practice in the number two and number three lanes. Counsel also argued that it was “common sense” not to stand in the area during active batting practice and that Lefebvre was 100 percent at fault because of his extensive baseball experience and time at other batting cages., Lefebvre suffered a rupture/fracture of the right testicle. As a result, he was taken tothe emergency room at Kaiser Permanente Modesto Medical Center, in Modesto, where he underwent a scrotal exploration to repair the right testicle. He ultimately required a bilateral orchiopexy, which was surgery to move the testicles in the scrotum and permanently fix them there, and unilateral repair of the right testicle with debridement. The repair resulted in a testicular volume loss of approximately 30 to 50 percent. Following the surgery, Lefebvre developed symptoms consistent with “chronic orchialgia,” or chronic pain of the testicle. One of the plaintiff’s treating urologists at Kaiser, Dr. Sarah Chan, testified that Lefebvre would potentially benefit from a spermatic cord denervation and/or an orchiectomy, a surgical procedure in which one or both testicles are removed. However, she admitted that she could not testify that the procedures would occur in the future “to a degree of medical certainty.” However, Chan did recommend that Lefebvre undergo additional conservative care to resolve his ongoing, chronic pain symptoms.
Superior Court of Stanislaus County, Modesto, CA

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