Weird Philadelphia Sports Injuries – Would a Product Liability Claim Traditionally Apply?

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    He Did What to What?

    The end of April means that baseball season is in full swing, hockey and basketball teams are competing in the playoff and the NFL teams are making last-minute draft preparations.  This week the Flyers are locked in a best of seven playoff series against the New York Rangers, the Phillies will host the Mets, and the Eagles are looking to solidify their receiving core and defensive backfield.  Let’s take a moment to look at some of the stranger sports injuries and their potential personal injury lawsuits.

    Ryan Madson vs. the Dugout Stairs and a Folding Chair

    The 2010 baseball season was a forgettable one for fans outside of San Francisco, but Ryan Madson gave Phillies fans something to remember at the expense of his pride and big toe.   The Phillies were facing the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants in an early-season match-up.  The Phillies were in the lead in the 10th inning and then Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, called to the bullpen for reliever Ryan Madson.  Madson attempted to close out the game, but he blew the save opportunity and was pulled from the game.  After being pulled from the game Madson headed to the clubhouse but slipped on the stairs.  Frustrated at his ineffectiveness in both pitching and navigating the clubhouse steps, Madson kicked a metal folding chair.  The chair broke Madson’s right toe and earned him a place on the 15-day disabled list.

    To his credit, Madson was contrite after the incident.  He stated, “I’m embarrassed, I let down my teammates. I let down the fans that want us all to be out there playing hard for them. I feel terrible about that. That’s probably the worst part. It is the worst part. I’ve done it before. Not kick stuff, but I’ve gotten upset before and never broken a bone. It’s just one of those things. I learned from it. I won’t do it again. I realize how much I’m letting my teammates down and the fans.”  Following the 2011 season, Madson left the Phillies, but not before becoming embroiled in a bizarre contract dispute with the team.

    Flyers’ Claude Giroux Triple-Bogeys

    While the Flyers hope to even up their playoff series this Tuesday and avoid scheduling an early tee-time, Captain Claude Giroux is no stranger to the links.  Last summer just months prior to the opening of the NHL season, Giroux was enjoying an off-season day on the golf course.  Unfortunately for Giroux, the day of golf and sun would cost him more than a month of being able to play hockey.

    Hockey players are no strangers to a broken or shattered stick.  Most times, they simply drop the stick and continue play without it until they can get a replacement from a teammate.  But, what happens when the same occurs on a golf course?  For Giroux, a shattered golf club resulted in tendon damage to his right index finger which required surgery to correct. Giroux said, “I was taking a swing and my club hit a little behind the ball. The shaft of the club shattered, but my hand kept going on the swing and the shattered part went right into my finger.”  Giroux recovered, but in the meantime, the Flyers were left without a captain and got off to an extremely poor start to the season.

    Eagles Offense Injures a Washington Player on Every Down?

    While injury-related NFL news is unfortunately all too often focused on concussions and the tragic after-effects of traumatic brain injury, last year’s match-up between the Eagles and rival Redskins offered a bit of humor.  Eagles coach Chip Kelly and his fast-paced offense are now known throughout Philadelphia and the NFL, but in September of 2013, the offense was just making its debut.  This debut came against division rival Washington who was clearly unprepared for such a blistering pace of play.  In response, Washington defenders routinely dropped to the ground with supposed cramping injuries.

    Is There a Product Liability Claim?

    Under Pennsylvania law, there are typically three categories of products liability lawsuits available:

    • Strict liability – Does not focus on the conduct of the actors.  Rather, if a product was ‘defective’ and the ‘defective’ product causes an injury, compensation must be paid to the injured individual.
    • Negligence – Negligence claims focus on the conduct of the defendant.  It requires the plaintiff to prove that a duty was owed, the duty was breached by the defendant, due to the breach an injury occurred.  Further, the plaintiff must prove the severity of the damages or injury.
    • Warranty Claims – Pennsylvania law permits warranty claims under an implied theory of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

    Both Madson’s and Giroux’s injuries occurred due to a potentially defective product.  In Madson’s case, his injury occurred due to the ostensible misuse of a folding chair and the defendant would likely raise this issue as a defense.  In contrast, Giroux’s injury due to the golf club occurred despite his apparent proper usage of the club.  Despite proper and foreseeable usage of the club, the manufacturer may yet assert that Giroux assumed the risk as he knew or should have known that the composite club was more likely to shatter.  In short, if there is a claim, it is more likely for Giroux and the Flyers to prevail.

    And as for the Redskins faking injuries?  Well, without an injury, there cannot be recovery. Further, the Eagles offense can hardly be considered a product though, even if it were, the #2 ranked offense in football could hardly be considered defective.

    Philadelphia Defective Product Attorneys Stand Up for Injured Pennsylvanians

    Professional athletes aren’t the only people that can be injured by a defective product.  If you have been hurt by a product, you owe it to yourself and your family to speak to an experienced product liability attorney.  Even if your accident occurred in an embarrassing fashion, that should not deter you from seeking legal help.  For your free consultation, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 or contact us online today.

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