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Joe Nocera

The Score: No Lawyers, No Nets, Dozens of Injuries

There's no pressure on baseball to protect fans closest to the field from foul balls and broken bats.
Look out!

Look out!

Photographer: Harry How/Getty Images

We live in a society that is both risk-averse and litigation-mad. Not surprisingly, these two things go hand in hand.

After a handful of crashes involving Toyota Motor Corp. automobiles, said to be the result of sudden acceleration, the company undertook a huge recall, while being sued by both crash victims and the government. It ultimately paid about $2.3 billion to settle the cases.  Mattel Inc. recalled 19 million toys after discovering that one of its Chinese manufacturers had used lead paint -- even though the lead level was minimal, and no one could point to a single child who had been harmed. It was nonetheless hit with lawsuits, which it settled two years later. And of course, McDonald’s Corp. was once famously sued when a woman burned herself after spilling a cup of hot coffee on her lap. Although the lawsuit was widely ridiculed, most disposable coffee cups now come with warnings.