Days away from presumably opting out of his Miami Marlins contract and testing free agency, Jorge Soler is dealing with an unwelcome distraction. Soler and his former team, the Atlanta Braves, are co-defendants in a lawsuit filed last Wednesday in Cobb County Superior Court in Georgia. A fan attending Game 3 of the 2021 World Series is said to have suffered an “extensive and excruciating injury” and is holding Soler partially responsible.
Soler was playing right field for the Braves that night. Upon completing mid-inning warmups entering the top of the fifth, the suit alleges that he threw the ball in the direction of Mayra Norris with “great force, speed, and intensity.” The ball’s impact caused multiple fractures, a right eye edema and infra-orbital abrasion.
The attorney representing Norris, Susan B. Shaw, provided this photo documenting the injuries:
“When people go to a game, they for sure ‘assume the risk’ of going to a sporting event,” Martin I. Berger, co-owner of Miami’s Berger & Hicks law firm, explains to Fish On First.
“So, the issues here are what was ‘reasonable’ on everyone’s part,” Berger continues. “The Braves will most likely settle. But is there a claim, sure…No one is taking advantage of anyone and no one is shaking anyone down.”
The suit includes six counts, four of which apply to Soler: negligence, punitive damages, loss of consortium and expenses of litigation (the other two apply only to the Braves). “I do not think the claim for punitive damages has any weight,” Berger says.
This situation bears some similarities to a 2022 lawsuit filed against the Los Angeles Angels when a child suffered head injuries due to an errant warmup throw. The player who threw that ball, Keynan Middleton, was not a co-defendant like Soler is, though.
It should go without saying, Soler’s free agent stock will be completely unaffected regardless of how this matter gets resolved. There is zero reason to suspect that he had any intentions to do harm—upon completing their warmup throws, it’s common practice across Major League Baseball for fielders to throw balls toward fans seated nearby, as Norris was in this case.
Soler is still under contract with the Marlins, due a $13M salary in 2024. However, he’s coming off an All-Star season and has the right to opt out of the deal in pursuit of a larger guarantee. He has until the fifth day after the World Series to make that decision.
Read the full lawsuit below:
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images