Man alleging Sluggerrr hurt his eye with a hot dog gets another chance with Royals lawsuit

06/24/2014 1:54 PM

06/24/2014 4:50 PM

A man allegedly injured by a hot dog tossed at a 2009 Royals game will get another chance to pursue his lawsuit against the team, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The court threw out a Jackson County jury verdict in favor of the baseball team and sent the case back to Jackson County for a possible re-trial.

Royals mascot Sluggerrr hit John Coomer in the eye when he tossed a hot dog into the crowd at a September 2009 game. Coomer sustained a detached retina. In 2010, he filed a negligence suit against the team.

The Jackson County jury found Coomer to be 100 percent at fault.

In January 2013, the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed the verdict. The Royals appealed to the Supreme Court, which on Tuesday again sided with Coomer.

The Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge made an error by instructing jurors to decide whether the risk of injury from the hot dog toss was “an inherent risk” of watching a Royals baseball game. That was a question that the judge should have decided, according to Tuesday’s ruling.

The jury instead should have been asked to decide whether Sluggerrr injured Coomer by hitting him with a hot dog and whether that constituted negligence.

Coomer’s lawyer, Robert Tormohlen, said they were pleased with the ruling.

“We look forward to to presenting the case again to a jury,” he said.

Scott Hofer, an attorney representing the Royals, noted that the Supreme Court did not say the original jury was wrong in finding Coomer 100 percent at fault.

“We don’t see how what the Supreme Court did will affect how a jury views this case,” Hofer said.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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