NJ baseball player sues coach who made him slide into third
BOUND BROOK — A lawsuit filed by a former junior varsity baseball player claiming that his coach "negligently" and "carelessly" supervised his game will see extra innings thanks to an appellate court decision.
In the lawsuit against the school district and Coach John Suk, Jake Mesar claims that Suk was the third-base coach during a game during Mesar's freshman year when he suffered a permanent ankle injury.
With his team up 6-0, Mesar says that he was attempting to leg out a triple when Suk told him to slide during what he expected to be a "bang-bang" play. Mesar claims in the court documents that during the slide his cleat "dug into the dirt and the force of the slide caused him to roll over his right ankle."
The case hinges on whether or not the coach's conduct rises to the level of recklessness as opposed to negligence.
In New Jersey, lawsuits involving athletics have to pass the higher standard of recklessness because sports involve inherent and "routine rough-and-tumble" risks.
In the initial court proceedings, the defendants convinced the trial judge to toss the suit because the complaint had accused the coach of acting "negligently" and "carelessly."
But in an appeal, the former player's attorney argued that the language of the lawsuit was flexible enough to include recklessness.
The appellate decision overturns the dismissal and asks the trial judge to determine if there is "sufficient evidence of defendants' recklessness."