A 14-year-old California Little League baseball player is being sued by his coach in connection with a game-winning celebration.
Joe Paris said his son was racing toward home plate to score the winning run during a Little League game in Granite Bay, Calif., last spring when the boy threw off his helmet in celebration.
“He was so excited,” Paris said.
In legal papers filed in court, the teen's former coach, Alan Beck, contends the boy “carelessly threw a helmet, striking Plaintiff's Achilles tendon and tearing it.”
The legal filings show Beck is seeking $500,000 for pain and suffering, and more than $100,000 for lost wages and medical bills.
“At first I thought it was joke,” Paris said Tuesday. “Now, I think it's absurd.”
Beck declined to comment, but his attorney told NBC affiliate KCRA that his client doesn't think the teen willfully harmed Beck.
“But, this wasn't a part of the game. A guy who volunteers his time to coach should not be subjected to someone who throws a helmet in the manner that he did,” attorney Gene Goldsman said. “What the kid did, it crossed the line.”
Bill Portanova, a legal expert in Sacramento, Calif., told KCRA that California law does allow children to be sued for their actions.
However, he said on a baseball field where there is an inherent risk of flying baseballs, bats and even helmets in the course of every game, proving the boy intended to injure, or knew his actions could cause injury, could be difficult.
“If he deliberately hurt somebody, then it's a stronger case and a stronger case that his parents could be held liable, but kids playing a kids' game in a contact sport — and baseball is a contact sport — that's going to be a tougher case,” Portanova said.
Portanova pointed out that many homeowners' insurance policies can cover legal expenses in a case like this for the defendant.
However, Paris said he doesn't have homeowners insurance and can't afford to continue to fight this legal action much longer.
“I've already spent over $4,000 and we haven't even been in a courtroom yet,” Paris said.