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Former Orioles minor leaguer sues Delmarva Shorebirds owner, Wicomico County over injury

Shortstop Jared Breen, seen here playing for the Aberdeen IronBirds, is suing the company that owns the Delmarva Shorebirds and Wicomico County over an injury he suffered at the Shorebirds' stadium in Salisbury in 2015.
Shortstop Jared Breen, seen here playing for the Aberdeen IronBirds, is suing the company that owns the Delmarva Shorebirds and Wicomico County over an injury he suffered at the Shorebirds' stadium in Salisbury in 2015. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF/Patuxent Homestead)

A former shortstop for the Delmarva Shorebirds is suing the company that owns the team and Wicomico County for upwards of $75,000, claiming that an debilitating injury he suffered while chasing a fly ball at the team’s Salisbury stadium was due to an unprotected and unpadded concrete wall.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Jared Breen — who played for the Shorebirds in 2014 and 2015 after being selected by the Orioles in the 24th round of the 2013 major league baseball amateur draft — says he has not been able to recover from an injury he suffered July 3, 2015, when he ran into a wall in foul territory.

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According to the complaint filed June 27, 2018, Breen was chasing a fly ball for the Shorebirds, the Orioles’ affiliate in the Low-A South Atlantic League, that was heading toward left field when he “violently collided with the unprotected and unpadded Wall.” The case has re-emerged in federal courts, as the judge considers a motion to dismiss the case.

“Breen’s right foot, right knee, and head first struck the Wall, followed by his entire body,” the complaint reads. “He immediately fell to the ground and could not get up or move his legs. ... As a result of the Accident, Breen suffered numerous serious injuries, including a fractured right patella, a broken orbital, a concussion, a fractured nose, a punctured sinus, and trauma to his back.”

“Despite months of treatment and rehabilitation since the Accident, Breen has not recovered entirely from his injuries, leaving him permanently partially disabled. The Accident ended his dream of playing professional baseball.”

Lowell infielder Wendell Rijo stretches to get the ball as Aberdeen's Jared Breen slides in on a steal attempt during a game at Ripken Stadium. Breen was released by the Orioles on Nov. 19, 2015.
Lowell infielder Wendell Rijo stretches to get the ball as Aberdeen's Jared Breen slides in on a steal attempt during a game at Ripken Stadium. Breen was released by the Orioles on Nov. 19, 2015. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, The Aegis)

According to a memorandum filed by U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Chasanow, the wall in question is 6 feet high, "runs parallel with the third-base line” and “was unpadded, leaving the vertical concrete face exposed to the field of play” when Breen crashed into it.

Chasanow wrote that Breen was released by the Orioles Nov. 19, 2015, as he continued to recover from his injuries at home in Atlanta.

“Until the date I was released by the Orioles, I had every hope of being able to continue playing professional baseball,” Breen said, according to Chasanow. “After those hopes were dashed and immediately following the intervening holidays, I acted promptly to identify and retain counsel to pursue my legal remedies.”

Breen is suing Wicomico County for negligence in building the stadium with the exposed wall and 7th Inning Stretch for entering an agreement with the county to use the stadium with the offending wall.

Attorneys for 7th Inning Stretch and Wicomico County did not immediately return calls for comment.

In response to Breen’s lawsuit, lawyers for 7th Inning Stretch wrote in a motion to dismiss that the group “admits that the Wall does not contain padding” but that Breen “was at all times aware of the location of the Wall in the Stadium and the condition of the Wall.”

A hearing is scheduled for next Thursday to hear further evidence about whether the county should remain a defendant in the lawsuit.

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