A New Jersey teenager settled a products liability lawsuit this week for $14.5 million. The teen was severely injured during a baseball game, when a ball hit off an aluminum bat struck him in the chest, ultimately causing irreversible brain damage. At issue in the lawsuit was his claim that aluminum bats can cause balls to fly much faster than wooden bats, and that the additional speed is unsafe.
During a June 2006 Police Athletic League baseball game in Wayne, New Jersey, 12 year-old Steven Domalewski was pitching. A batter, using an aluminum bat from about forty-five feet away, hit a line drive that hit Steven in the chest. The ball happened to hit him in the instant between heartbeats, and the impact caused cardiac arrest. Steven fell to the ground, stopped breathing, and lost consciousness. A bystander began to administer CPR, and paramedics arrived within minutes. They tried to give him oxygen on the way to the hospital, but his brain had been deprived of oxygen for fifteen to twenty minutes, causing extensive damage. Steven spent more than eight months in the hospital, and he has required extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation since then. He is now eighteen years old and has reportedly shown some improvement.