A New Jersey teen, Steven Domalewski, and his family sued Hillerich & Bradsby Co., claiming an aluminum bat manufactured by the company caused him serious injuries. The lawsuit also named Little League Baseball Inc., who approved the bat for play, and Sports Authority, the company who sold the baseball bat, as defendants. The boy, who was playing the position of pitcher at the time, was hit in the chest by a fast-flying baseball, stopping his heart and causing a lack of oxygen to the brain for fifteen to twenty minutes. This lack of oxygen resulted in significant brain damage.
The batter was using a YB504 Louisville Slugger TPX Platinum aluminum alloy bat. The complaint alleges these high-performance metal bats create increased exit speeds when compared to wooden bats, which reduce a player’s reaction time. It also claims the bat was a defective product under the New Jersey Product Liability Act, stating claims of fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, and negligence. The plaintiffs assert the defendants committed fraud by claiming that the bats are safe when they really are not. Little League Inc., however, claims they hold their players’ safety above everything else and that the assertions by the Domalewskis are false; non-wooden bats are as safe as wooden bats. Hillerich & Bradsby also issued a statement saying their bat is not to blame. They claim injuries in baseball like Steven’s, though rare, have occurred more from thrown or pitched balls than batted balls. Controversy over the safety of non-wooden bats extends back twenty to thirty years