Royals mascot Sluggerrr cleared of wrongdoing in hot dog accident
A hot dog launched from an air-cannon turned into a civil suit after a fan suffered a detached retina, but the mascot involved in the incident has been cleared.
On Wednesday, Royals mascot Sluggerrr was cleared of any wrongdoing in a hot dog tossing accident by a Jackson County jury following a two-day trial. The accident happened way back in 2009.
John Coomer, the fan attending the game at Kauffman Stadium, was looking at the out-of-town scoreboard during the game when a foil-covered hot dog shot out of an air-cannon by Sluggerrr hit him in the face. He suffered a detached retina in his left eye.
Here's more from Brian Burnes of the Kansas City Star:
He sued the Royals claiming negligence in 2010. The next year, the first jury found him 100 percent at fault.
But after Coomer appealed, the case returned to court this week, where jurors once again listened to testimony from the fan, the mascot and medical experts.
This time the jury found that neither the Royals nor Coomer was at fault.
Coomer said the verdict disappointed him, especially since his injury has generated about $16,000 in medical expenses.
“I was injured at the game, by their hand, and I was hoping that I could get at least my medical expenses taken care of,” he said.
MLB clubs warn fans at the ballpark that balls and bats can enter the stands and be dangerous -- parks have signs with warnings and there is one printed on the actual ticket as well -- but no such warning exists for flying hot dogs.
Byron Shores, who portrayed Sluggerrr for more than a decade, told the Star he had met with his boss prior to the incident to discuss his hot dog-shooting technique.
During the trial, Byron Shores, who portrayed Sluggerrr for about 14 years, said he had met previously with his boss regarding the promotion and that the boss had wanted to see “more arc” on some of his throws, depending on how far away the fans were. Shores agreed with Bob Tormohlen, the attorney for Coomer, that the hot dog toss that resulted in the alleged eye injury was a “no-look, behind-the back” throw.
Coomer acknowledged Shores was just doing his job and added he does not want the hot dog toss retired following his accident. "I just think they could be done more responsibly," he said to the Star.
Coomer said he does not plan to attempt any more lawsuits on the matter.
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