Season-ticket holders sue for negligence, demand protective netting

Baseball A class-action lawsuit filed Monday seeks to force to extend protective netting from foul pole to foul pole in an effort to prevent injuries to fans.A group of season-ticket holders filed suit in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, arguing that commissioner Rob Manfred and have failed to adequately protect spectators from foul balls and flying bats thanks to "a widespread pattern of negligence, misrepresentations and omissions." MORE: Best career All-Star performers | Greinke, Keuchel to start All-Star GameThe text of the lawsuit lays out the plaintiffs' arguments, with much of the ire directed at Manfred — who has been in office only since January. It takes baseball to task for promoting itself as a family-friendly activity but failing to protect fans in the closest seats. Among the arguments made is that is doing a disservice by providing WiFi in stadiums "specifically so young fans can watch .com content on their mobile devices while watching games.""These actions, by bringing further distractions and visual stimuli into the ballpark, while at the same time providing assurances that the ball park is safe for families, have greatly increased the risk to fans," the lawsuit reads.One of the key points in the lawsuit is a recent Fox Sports report that twice since 2007, has rejected requests by the Players' Association to extend protective netting farther down the lines. The league reportedly rebuffed such a change out of concerns that it would detract from the experience of premium ticket

buyers — the very group that is now seeking action.The lawsuit demands that install netting from foul pole to foul pole in all major- and minor-league ballparks by "the beginning of the 2016-2017 season," making the time frame a bit unclear. It also seeks a formal study of injuries to spectators, including type of injury and location where they occurred, in an effort to continually monitor potential safety improvements.The lead plaintiff is Gail Payne, described in the suit as a "devout" Oakland A's fan for nearly 50 years. She owns season tickets down the first-base line at Coliseum and says she "fears for her and her husband’s safety and particularly for her daughter" because the seats aren't protected by netting.Payne also cites "many, many distractions" during the course of the game, including "fan-participation contests that involve texting or using applications on mobile devices" that she believes put her and other fans at increased risk of injury.