When we first saw the headline “Plunging louts at stadiums are more than a pain in the neck” in the NY Daily News, we assumed it was another story about Shea’s plumbing.
Instead, it is an update on the plights two spine-addled fans, injured at Shea and Yankee Stadium this year.
58–year-old Met fan Ellen Massey was at opening day at Shea. Just before the 7th inning, a drunk fan fell on her, breaking her back. She went to the hospital. The drunk waddled away.
Massey told the News: “You're always ready to put your hands up so you don't get hit by a foul ball, But an unguided missile, well, that's something else."
"Massey still wears a neck brace on occasion and struggles with her balance, but has returned to working three days a week.
Despite her pain, she said she may one day return to Shea.
"If they give me a plexiglass booth, I'll gladly go back," Massey joked.
Meanwhile, Massey is suing the Mets: her lawyer Stephen Kaufman insists excessive alcohol fueled the mystery fan who splashed onto her back.
"With all this drinking, you have an inherently dangerous situation," Kaufman said. "Fans shouldn't feel like they have to wear a helmet or armor to a game."
In addition to the Mets, the suit targets Shea Stadium concessionaire Aramark and the Service Employees International Union - the union that employs security guards at the ballpark.
Spokesmen for the Mets and Aramark declined to comment on the lawsuit. But in court papers, an attorney for the team denied Massey's allegations, while trying to shift blame to Aramark and the SEIU.
"Where the lawsuits get traction is when the clubs don't follow their own alcohol policies or don't have the proper security," said James Mosher, an expert on alcohol liability law at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. "These fans are the invitees, so there is a responsibility for their safety at the stadiums."