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'Human Guinea Pig' Gets Payback as Jury Awards MLB Umpire $775K for Defective Mask

The trend is clearly against people who are injured by reasonably foreseeable events that occur at sporting events (errant golf balls shanked into the side of your head; hot dogs thrown by team mascots straight into your eye, etc.). But Major League umpire Ed Hickox beat that trend this week when a jury in the District of Columbia found that the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. must pay him $775,000 following injuries he suffered as home plate umpire from a foul ball that struck him in the jaw. Hickox suffered a concussion and several broken bones from the impact.

The Blog of the Legal Times reports that Hickox was wearing a Wilson-made face mask when he was hit. The face mask, however, failed to protect him and flipped off of his head upon impact from the foul ball.

Beyond the obvious claim that the mask did not serve its purpose of protecting him, Hickox also claimed that Wilson failed to properly test the masks and essentially used umpires and catchers as "human guinea pigs."  According to an attorney for Hickox, the equipment manufacturer claimed that seeing how the mask performed while worn on the job by umpires and catchers amounted to sufficient testing.

Hickox has recovered from the injuries and is back in action as an MLB umpire.

Posted by Bruce Carton on March 17, 2011 at 02:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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