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Fans file lawsuit against MLB over safety concerns

The suit appears to be the first legal action in regards to netting at big league parks.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI -- Season ticket holders filed a class-action lawsuit against MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in regards to "the danger of foul ball and bat injuries through a widespread pattern of negligence, misrepresentations and omissions toward baseball spectators at MLB games" on Monday, according to a press release from Hagens Berman LLP and Hilliard Munoz and Gonzales LLP.

The suit "seeks no monetary relief" and is aimed to "force the MLB to install safety netting from foul pole to foul pole at all major and minor league parks" by the beginning of next season.

The suit comes in the wake of two significant incidents at Fenway Park in recent weeks; one in which a woman was struck with a piece of a broken bat and suffered life-threatening injuries in early June, and another Friday night in which a woman required more than 40 stitches after being hit with a foul ball. Those incidents have been met with a significant call for increased netting at ballparks, though this appears to be the first legal action taken towards change.

"Every type of fan is constantly at risk of serious injury or death. From infants to the elderly to anyone in between -- all are just one pitch away from a line drive foul ball heading at them at lightning speed," said Robert Hilliard, partner at Hilliard Muñoz and Gonzales LLP. "If that foul ball is hit hard enough, reaction time is basically zero and life-threatening injury is certain."

"This is a needless risk. Extending the nets will, as a fact, save lives," Hilliard added in the release.