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Injured Softballer Crying Foul


— July 15, 2004

A former catcher in the Garden City Over-35 Men’s Slow-Pitch softball league, [Michael] Licitra is suing both the Village of Garden City and John Knowles, an opposing player, for $2 million in damages. The civil trial began Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Mineola.

Licitra, 44, broke his left leg when Knowles, 39, collided with him while trying to score a run for his team, the “East Enders,” in a playoff game in September 2001. . . .

[K]nowles’ attorney, Robert Baxter of Jericho, told reporters Wednesday that the case is “a joke,” and that any athlete assumes the risk of injury when playing a sport.

“If we lose this case, my statement to everyone would be don’t play sports in this county,” he said.

Licitra’s attorney, Robert Morici of Garden City, insisted that softball “is not a contact sport” and that his client played under the assumption that the league’s rules [against rough contact with a player in possession of the ball] would be followed. . . .

[A] motion to dismiss the case stating that Licitra held an “assumption of risk” when joining the league was denied in February by State Supreme Court Justice Bruce D. Alpert, who wrote that the assumption ” … did not relieve the defendant from the obligation of using reasonable care to guard against a risk which might reasonably be anticipated,” court records state.

Details here from Newsday.com. (via The Obscure Store. See also Overlawyered.com, which notes that the court’s ruling that assumption of the risk “‘did not relieve the defendant from the obligation of using reasonable care to guard against a risk which might reasonably be anticipated,’ begs the question what Garden City should’ve done differently other than ban softball.”)

UPDATE (7/20): Jury rejects lawsuit by softball player.


A former catcher in the Garden City Over-35 Men’s Slow-Pitch softball league, [Michael] Licitra is suing both the Village of Garden City and John Knowles, an opposing player, for $2 million in damages. The civil trial began Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Mineola.

Licitra, 44, broke his left leg when Knowles, 39, collided with him while trying to score a run for his team, the “East Enders,” in a playoff game in September 2001. . . .

[K]nowles’ attorney, Robert Baxter of Jericho, told reporters Wednesday that the case is “a joke,” and that any athlete assumes the risk of injury when playing a sport.

“If we lose this case, my statement to everyone would be don’t play sports in this county,” he said.

Licitra’s attorney, Robert Morici of Garden City, insisted that softball “is not a contact sport” and that his client played under the assumption that the league’s rules [against rough contact with a player in possession of the ball] would be followed. . . .

[A] motion to dismiss the case stating that Licitra held an “assumption of risk” when joining the league was denied in February by State Supreme Court Justice Bruce D. Alpert, who wrote that the assumption ” … did not relieve the defendant from the obligation of using reasonable care to guard against a risk which might reasonably be anticipated,” court records state.

Details here from Newsday.com. (via The Obscure Store. See also Overlawyered.com, which notes that the court’s ruling that assumption of the risk “‘did not relieve the defendant from the obligation of using reasonable care to guard against a risk which might reasonably be anticipated,’ begs the question what Garden City should’ve done differently other than ban softball.”)

UPDATE (7/20): Jury rejects lawsuit by softball player.

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