Ellen Massey sued the Mets and others arising out of an incident that occurred at the 2007 home opener between the Mets and Phillies. Massey was severely injured when another fan, Timothy Cassidy, fell on top of her, breaking her back, although Cassidy says he was pushed. Massey claims that the Mets were negligent in failing to maintain control of an unruly crowd, and for serving an already-intoxicated Cassidy.
At his deposition, Cassidy admitted to consuming three beers, but denies that he was intoxicated. His friend, who is also a police officer, testified Cassidy may have had four or five beers but also denied he was intoxicated. Cassidy testified that he got into a verbal "back and forth" with Metzger, who then pushed Cassidy, causing him to fall on Massey. Others, however, testified Cassidy was slurring his speech and otherwise appeared intoxicated.
The Mets filed a summary judgment motion
, asking the court to dismiss the case before trial. The Mets claimed that the incident was a random act that could not have been prevented. Judge Gische, noting that the Mets had a legal duty to undertake reasonable security measures, held that a jury could believe the testimony of some of the witnesses that Cassidy had been loud and vulgar, and attempting to pick fights. As a result, security could have removed Cassidy based upon his visible intoxication and/or aggressive behavior. Judge Gische also stated that the Mets have a policy that drunk and/or disorderly persons are to be denied admission to the stadium. A motion filed by Harry M. Stevens (the company that sells beer) was also denied, as it failed to meet a required threshold showing that it did not serve an alleged visibly intoxicated Cassidy.
This does not mean that the Mets are liable for the incident - rather, the Court simply ruled that a jury should decide the case, because a Judge cannot resolve factual disputes. Nevertheless, this case will probably settle before trial. How will jurors feel about compensating Ms. Massey for her broken back, when the Mets are paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo $18 million to do nothing this year? A copy of Judge Gische's decision can be seen here