Cubs dropped from lawsuit filed by man blinded by foul ball

A judge has dismissed the Chicago Cubs from a lawsuit filed by a fan blinded in one eye by a foul ball at Wrigley Field.

John Loos, of Schaumburg, says in the lawsuit filed in October he was sitting along the first-base line near the outfield during an August 29 game when he was struck in the face.

The Chicago Tribune reports Major League Baseball remains a defendant in the lawsuit. The attorney for Loos will have another chance to make the case the Cubs should be a defendant because the team "willfully and wantonly" failed to erect safety netting despite knowing of the injury risk to fans.

A Cubs spokesman was unavailable for comment on the court's action.

Judges across the country frequently throw out such lawsuits. Illinois is one of four states with a so-called "baseball rule." The law absolves stadium owners of liability so long as an adequate number of seats are behind protective netting.

Loos, 60, said he had undergone three surgeries to repair his severely damaged left eye and the five bones in his face shattered by the foul ball during a game between the Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I had no idea that you were subjected to such missiles," said Loos. "You could be there with a mitt and you wouldn't have been able to react in time."

With the lawsuit, Loos joins a growing chorus of critics who after recent incidents to call on Major League teams to extend the safety netting farther down the lines to protect fans sitting there like the netting that protects the fans sitting behind home plate. There also was an incident last year at New York's Yankee Stadium in which a 2-year-old was struck in the face by a line drive foul ball.

"Fans are the life-blood of Major League Baseball (and) there should be nothing more important than their safety," said Loos.

After the girl was hit in New York, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said MLB had in recent seasons worked with teams to expand netting in ballparks and would "redouble our efforts on this important issue."

Days after the child was struck in New York, Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said the team would extend the netting already in place by at least 30 feet down lines. After the Cubs lawsuit was filed, an attorney for Loos, Colin Dunn, said he'd contacted the Cubs and was encouraged by what they said. He declined to elaborate.

"I have talked to them and I do believe that they will do the right thing for Jay..." said Dunn, whose lawsuit sought damages of at least $50,000. "I think they care about their fans."

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