CONTRACT-COVID-19 TESTING-LITTLE LEAGUE

January 18th, 2023 by Rieders Travis in Contracts

Needville Little League v. Little League Baseball, Inc., Pa. No. 21-00801 (C.P. Lycoming December 28, 2022) (Linhardt, J.)  The Court finds that Plaintiffs have sufficiently pied their claim for breach of contract to survive demurrer. Plaintiffs pointed out specific language in rules , regulations and procedures promulgated by Defendant that states that in the event of a positive COVI D-19 test, Defendant would “work efficiently to communicate with the appropriate family members, team contacts, and state health officials, to initiate all appropriate quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing procedures,” removing teams if they “cannot field nine players …. ” Plaintiffs aver that they spent money and altered their behavior in reliance on this representation, and that had they known it would be changed hours before their arrival at the regional tournament to a policy of blanket disqualification they would not have acted as they did. Plaintiffs also averred that based on materials Defendant issued, they relied on Defendant to prevent regional and local officials from imposing non-uniform standards across the various regional tournaments, but that Defendant allowed exactly that sort of variation to Plaintiffs’ detriment. It is clear that Defendant retained discretion to address individual circumstances as they arose in order to prioritize the health and safety of players, coaches, and their families, and Defendant will not incur liability for making choices that in retrospect were sensible but less than optimal. At this stage, however, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant’s application of its own rules, regulations and procedures was arbitrary and uneven, and that Defendant did conduct contact tracing and mitigation efforts in other nearly identical situations, evidencing that their treatment of Plaintiffs was unfair and in bad faith. The Court concludes that it cannot say as a matter of law that Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate breach of contract. Plaintiffs are therefore entitled to proceed to discovery on these claims. Defendant may answer the allegations with evidence demonstrating the reasoning that went into the disqualification of Plaintiffs’ teams. On the face of the Complaint, however, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have sufficiently specified contractual provisions and pied facts that could support a finding of breach of contract.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]

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