Parents seek to turn table on coach behind Little League lawsuit

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 - 8:37 am

A lawyer for the Granite Bay Little League player being sued by his former coach reiterated the stance of the boy’s family that it does not owe Alan Beck an apology for an injury he sustained on the field. Instead, the lawyer said Beck should pay $3,000 of the family’s legal costs.

Beck made national headlines when he sued one of his 14-year-old players for injuring him during a postgame celebration.

He has since said he’s willing to drop the $500,000 legal action against the player and his family if they would apologize to him. Beck says his Achilles tendon was partially torn when he was struck by a batting helmet the player had thrown while celebrating a win.

The suit, filed Nov. 6, names the minor, his parents Joe and Raegan Paris, and Lakeside Little League in Granite Bay. The suit seeks damages for lost wages, medical expenses, general damage, loss of earning capacity and legal costs.

“The Paris family has repeatedly stated, in various forums, that they are sorry that Mr. Beck sustained an injury to his Achilles, and required treatment and surgery,” Folsom attorney James Donahue wrote in an email to The Sacramento Bee.

“There is truly no evidence that this injury was caused by a thrown helmet. Frankly, the physics of that occurring are quite dubious. Accordingly, the Paris family does not feel that an apology for a disputed incident, and questionable causation, is indicated. They truly did nothing wrong. Nor did their son,” the email said.

Still reeling from a national backlash, Beck said he’ll consider the Paris family’s approach to settling the dispute. “It’s something I’ll definitely consider,” he said. “It’s been a hard three weeks.”

Earlier, the former coach said he was hurt March 23, his team’s second game of the season. As he ran toward home plate from his position as the third-base coach to celebrate the winning run scoring from third, he said he felt a sharp pain in his ankle and turned around to see a player’s helmet near his feet. Beck says the 14-year-old player didn’t toss his hard plastic helmet into the air in celebration as has been reported elsewhere, but threw it sharply, more like a football player spiking a football.

In a letter sent to Beck’s attorney, Gene Goldsman, Donahue argued that legal action against the player is barred by the risk doctrine – in which participants in an activity assume a certain level of risk – and that the Parises don’t have deep pockets. “There is no pot of gold. There is no rainbow,” he wrote.

He said Beck has 10 days to accept the offer to reimburse the Paris family or donate $3,000 to Lakeside Little League or he would “proceed to vigorously defend this action on behalf of the Paris family.”

Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.

Read more articles by Ed Fletcher

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