Lawsuit: Boy’s brain damaged by errant Angel Stadium throw

Apr 7, 2022, 1:39 AM | Updated: 4:22 pm
Attorney Keith Bruno, left, and Kyle Scott, representing the Galaz family, hold up a photo of Bryso...

Attorney Keith Bruno, left, and Kyle Scott, representing the Galaz family, hold up a photo of Bryson Galaz and imaging of his skull during a press conference in Anaheim, Calif. on Thursday, April 7, 2022. The mother of Bryson Galaz, who was accidentally hit in the head with a baseball thrown by a Los Angeles Angels pitcher warming up before a game, has filed a lawsuit against the team. Beatrice Galaz says in the lawsuit announced Thursday that the team's negligence led to the traumatic brain injury suffered by her then-6-year-old son at Angel Stadium in September 2019. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin)

(AP Photo/Amy Taxin)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A 6-year-old boy suffered a fractured skull and brain damage when he was accidentally hit by a baseball thrown by a Los Angeles Angels player who was warming up before a 2019 game, according to a lawsuit announced Thursday that blames the injury on the team’s negligence.

The lawsuit by the boy’s mother Beatrice Galaz said the team should have more netting along the side of the field and players shouldn’t throw balls during warmups in areas where spectators could be struck, especially when the team is encouraging fans to arrive early to try to meet players.

On Sept. 15, 2019, her son Bryson was walking with his father in the first row of stadium seating toward the dugout, where players were meeting fans and signing autographs more than an hour and a half before the game, the lawsuit said. He was struck on the side of the head when pitcher Keynan Middleton, who was warming up on the field, threw a ball toward another Angels player who missed the catch.

Bryson was rushed to the emergency room in critical condition and sent to a children’s hospital for monitoring for 2 1/2 days, said Kyle Scott, the family’s lawyer. Since then, Bryson — now in third grade — has done fine academically but has difficulties paying attention and with social interaction, and medical exams show abnormal brain activity, which raises concerns about his longer-term development, especially as school subjects become more complex, Scott said.

“We’re grateful that he pulled through, but since that day he has struggled in school,” Galaz, of Anaheim, said in a statement released Thursday. “He’s simply not the same.”

The Angels declined to comment on the litigation.

“No parties have reached out to us regarding this lawsuit,” said Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey. “We have only been made aware of this by the media, so we are unable to comment at this time.”

The lawsuit filed April 1 was announced on opening day for Major League Baseball at a news conference near Angel Stadium, where the Angels were due to host the Houston Astros later in the day.

Getting a baseball at an MLB game is a signature event for any fan but it can come with a cost. While very rare, fans sometimes suffer serious injuries from balls or even bats that fly into the stands. Angel Stadium and other major league parks have expanded protective netting in recent years to increase safety.

In 2015, MLB encouraged teams to have netting or screens that extend in a semi-circle between the ends of the dugouts closest to home plate. That push increased in 2017, and by opening day 2018, all 30 ballparks had netting that reached at least that far.

At the end of 2019, the league said some teams would extend the netting. That’s the same year a 79-year-old woman died four days after being hit in the head by a foul ball that sailed over protective netting at Dodger Stadium. It was believed to be the first foul ball death at an MLB stadium since 1970, when another Dodger Stadium fan was killed.

Scott, the family’s attorney, said since Bryson’s injury, Angel Stadium has extended netting a section beyond the dugout but that would not have prevented the accident. Extending it farther down the foul line and not having players warm up by throwing the ball in the direction of stadium seating could have made a difference, he said.

Keith Bruno, another attorney for the family, said it was not immediately known how fast the ball was traveling when Bryson was struck. While event tickets often include a liability disclaimer, Bruno said he did not believe that would apply to an availability before the game that the team encouraged fans to attend.

“This is not about putting kids in a bubble or ensuring the safety of everybody that comes to the ballpark,” Bruno said. “This is about taking common sense measures and protecting the most vulnerable that we have from known dangers.”

Middleton, who is not a target of this lawsuit, left the Angels as a free agent after the 2020 season when the club declined to offer him a new contract. He is pitching in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system.

After the incident, Middleton went over to check on a crying Bryson and the team called for help. An Angels official followed up with an email but when the family requested help with medical bills no one replied, Scott said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and coverage of medical costs and loss of future earnings.

___

Associated Press writer Greg Beacham contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Washington Wizards players including Rui Hachimura, center, and Isaiah Todd (14) work out in Tokyo,...
Associated Press

Warriors-Wizards games in Japan to woo NBA fans, sponsors

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball fans will get to see NBA stars up close when the reigning league-champion Golden State Warriors take on the Washington Wizards in two preseason games. Not surprisingly, Stephen Curry and Japanese-born Rui Hachimura will be the star attractions for each team. And as clearly as the logo of Japanese online […]
1 day ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates his 61st home run of the season, a two-run shot against th...
Associated Press

Maris Jr: Bonds, McGwire illegitimate, Judge to be HR king

TORONTO (AP) — Roger Maris Jr. considers the home run feats of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to be illegitimate and says Aaron Judge should be recognized as the holder of the big league season standard if the New York Yankees slugger hits No. 62. “He should be revered for being the actual […]
1 day ago
San Diego Padres' Manny Machado, right, jokes with Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux (9)...
Associated Press

Freeman has RBI single in 10th, gives Dodgers 107th win

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Freddie Freeman helped the Atlanta Braves win the World Series last year and on Wednesday night he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers set the franchise season record with their 107th victory. Freeman singled in Mookie Betts with one out in the 10th inning and the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres […]
1 day ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hugs his mother, Patty Judge, after the team's baseball game against ...
Associated Press

Fans miss 61 HR ball, Jays bullpen coach gets it to Judge

TORONTO (AP) — When Aaron Judge’s American League record-tying 61st home run dropped into Toronto’s bullpen, coach Matt Buschmann picked it up. “Bad news is I’m down here in Florida battling a hurricane, but the good news is I can announce my retirement,” tweeted Buschmann’s wife, Sara Walsh, a Fox Sports reporter and former ESPN […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during t...
Associated Press

Trout hits 38th homer, Lorenzen sharp as Angels beat A’s 4-1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout hit his 38th home run, Michael Lorenzen went five strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels continued their success against the Oakland Athletics with a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night. Taylor Ward also homered, while Lorenzen (8-6) gave up an unearned run to lower his ERA to 0.45 against […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' Joc Pederson watches his two-run triple against the Colorado Rockies during t...
Associated Press

Giants beat Rockies 6-3 to keep slim playoff hopes alive

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Joc Pederson had a two-run triple and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Wednesday night to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Mike Yastrzemski, Brandon Crawford and Ford Proctor also drove in runs to help San Francisco beat Colorado for the seventh straight time. The Giants have […]
1 day ago
Lawsuit: Boy’s brain damaged by errant Angel Stadium throw