Summary of Salevan v. Wilmington Park, Inc. (1950), Superior CT of Delaware
Facts: Mr. Salevan was a pedestrian on E. 30th St. as he walked past the baseball park owned by the D. P brings a cause of action for personal injuries as he was struck in the back by a baseball. It was entered into testimony that an average of 16-18 foul balls reached E. 30th St during the course of each game. Furthermore, an average of 2-3 fouls balls come out of the park over a 10 foot fence and land where the P was standing. Sixty eight games were played that year which would mean that 136-204 balls would have landed at the exact spot where P Salevan was standing.
P argues: The D park was well aware that instances of foul balls hitting this particular area. They could have easily compiled such a history over their 8 year period of ownership of the park and should have taken precautions to insure pedestrian safety. Failure to foresee such risk is negligence. P doesn’t argue D is obligated to police the roads. P merely argues that D is obligated to police the objects that are expelled from its property onto public areas.
D argues: They did undertake precautions.
Rationale: The very fact that the D undertook precautions in the first place point to their knowledge that such a problem might arise. They were aware that 2-3 balls per game, and between 136 and 204 balls per year, were circumventing their safety measure, yet took no further precautions. Their precautions were insufficient.
Holding: Judgment for P in the amount of $2500 in light of negligence.