This Note posits that MLB’s current rules and processes for handling plays of questionable legality that result in serious injury are insufficient to provide adequate remedies to injured players. Part I discusses the development of tort liability in professional sports, including the evolution of the doctrine of assumption of risk and its varied applicability to particular sports, both professional and recreational. Part II discusses Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals, Inc., one of the landmark cases on the topic of tortious liability in professional sports, and utilizes the modern application of Hackbart to make a case for Chase Utley’s potential liability in battery in the collision at issue. This Part also evaluates the question of who, including but not limited to Utley, may be liable for Tejada’s injury in a hypothetical action for battery. Finally, Part III explores several proposed solutions to the problem of professional sports injuries, ranging from legislative intervention to revised league controls to the benefits and potential disadvantages of bringing civil action.
This Note concludes that although civil action is likely the most successful route for recourse, selecting that route may have a number of disastrous consequences for professional sports leagues. In an effort to avoid these potential negative consequences, the Note hypothesizes that the most efficient avenue is a revision to the language of league safety rules.