Family of 10-year-old files lawsuit against Baltimore Orioles after being hit in face by baseball

The family of a 10-year-old girl who suffered a fractured skull and cheekbones when she was struck by a baseball before a Baltimore Orioles game last season has filed a lawsuit against the ballclub.

According to the lawsuit, Jennifer Dempsey and her stepfather Joseph Kraft attended a baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 23, 2013. They arrived at the game early and an usher, whose identity is unknown, told them they had to wait two minutes for the stadium's seating bowl to open. The usher then directed Dempsey and Kraft to the right field foul pole in the flag court area to wait for the seating area to open, the lawsuit states.

During the this time, Coco Crisp, an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics engaging in batting practice, hit a ball that traveled over the right field scoreboard and hit Dempsey in the face, the lawsuit states. She underwent a nine-hour emergency surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, from which she has experienced further complications, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states Dempsey was not attempting to catch balls during batting practice, and the usher didn't warn her of the danger of being hit by one. "In fact, as a ten year old, she would not have been able to see batting practice over the right field wall where she was directed to stand," it states.

In addition to the Orioles, the family is also suing the Maryland Stadium Authority, the state entity that owns and operates Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Baltimore Orioles Limited Partnership. The lawsuit states ushers at the park during baseball games are employed by the Baltimore Orioles or the Baltimore Orioles Limited Partnership.

Jan Hardesty, the Maryland Stadium Authority's public information officer, declined to comment because she said anything relating to litigation goes through the attorney general's office.

David Paulson, director of communications for the attorney general's office, declined to comment because the office has not yet had time to review the case. However, he said there have been no similar lawsuits in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Baltimore Orioles officials did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The family is seeking more than $75,000 in damages. They are represented by Raymond L. Marshall and Francis X. Leary of Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall, LLC in Towson.

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