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(H. Rept. No. 193. 77th Cong., 1st sess.) The purpose of the proposed legislation is to pay to James B. Healy as legal guardian of Barbara Healy, a minor of Lowell, Mass., the sum of $3,000 in full settlement of all claims against the United States 'for damages on account of personal injuries received by his daughter, the said Barbara Healy, on June 15, 1937, in Lowell, Mass., when she was struck by a baseball bat which slipped from the hands of a player in a baseball game arranged for by a Work Projects Administration recreational project.
STATEMENT OF FACTS At about 7 o'clock on the evening of June 15, 1937, a baseball game was in progress at the Walker Street Playground, Lowell, Mass. This playground was owned by the Lowell Gas Light Co. and was not and still is not an authorized ball field and ball park of the city of Lowell. The gas company allowed the city to use this property for a W. P. A. recreational project.
While none of the members of the teams engaged in this game were W. P. A. employees, however, the umpire of the game was a member of the W. P. A. and the entire arrangement and supervision of the game was handled by employees of the Administration. The city of Lowell purchased the necessary bats and baseballs for use in the games.
While this game was in progress, Barbara Healy stopped to watch same. Miss Healy, a 16-year-old high-school girl, lived with her parents a short distance from where this playground was located. Miss Healy states that she was standing behind a rope which divided the sidewalk on Walker Street and the playing field, somewhere between the home plate and third base. After she had been watching the game for a short while, one of the players, Thomas F. Boredieau, missed a pitched ball and in so doing lost control of the bat which swung out of his hand and hit the girl on the right side of her head.
The W. P. A. recommends against the enactment of the proposed legislation since in their opinion there is no connection between the Government and the cause of the accident.
Your committee strongly disagrees with the Administration in this respect. As before stated, and as admitted by the Administration, the project was conducted entirely under the supervision of the Government employees, although they did not engage in the game. Most of the bats in these games had their handles taped as a precautionary measure against their slipping out of the players' hands. However, this bat was not taped and it was impossible for Mr. Boredieau to get a good grip on it.
Your committee feels that in failing to have this bat taped the project employees were negligent. Furthermore, those in charge of the project should have seen to it that there was some sort of a shelter such as a net or a fence which would prevent pedestrians walking along the sidewalk from being injured as this girl was. The Administration points out that it is unusual for a bat to be flung 40 feet through the air. This may be true, but it will be readily admitted that it would not be at all unusual for a foul ball to be struck this distance out of bounds, and it is believed that precautions should have been taken in this respect.
As a result of her injury, Barbara Healy received a depressed comminuted fracture of the skull, one of the cracks going through the petrous portion of the bone, with rupture of her ear drum and hemorrhage from the middle ear. It was necessary for her to remain in the hospital for 4 weeks and she was confined to bed at home for some time after being dismissed from the hospital. This girl was struck on July 15, 1937. In the autumn of 1938 she attempted to resume her school work but after 24 months' attendance she gave it up on her doctor's orders. She developed anemia and a very bad nervous condition. The anemia has improved but the nervousness still persists and there will be found hereafter appended a statement from Miss Healy's doctor dated January 26, 1940, in which he states "at the present time she is nervous, underweight, and is easily fatigued. She is unable to attend school or do any work whereby she might gain a livelihood. Her present physical condition is attributable entirely to her injury.'
Miss Healy's parents had to expend between $400 and $500 for medical treatment for the girl, as will be shown in detail in an affidavit hereafter appended.
After having gone thoroughly into the facts surrounding this case your committee is of the opinion that the sum of $3,000 should be paid to James B. Healy, as legal guardian of Barbara Healy, to reimburse the family for expenses already incurred, and to compensate the girl for her pain, suffering, and further disability.
Appended hereto is the report of the Work Projects Administration, together vith other pertinent evidence.
WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION,
Washington, D. C., May 6, 1938. The Honorable AMBROSE J. KENNEDY, Chairman, Committee on Claims, House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN KENNEDY: Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of May 2, 1938, enclosing a copy of H. R. 10104, a bill for the relief of Barbara Healy, and requesting a report thereon.
On April 11, 1938, this Administration submitted a report to the Committee on Claims of the United States Senate for its consideration upon S. 3801, a bill identical to H. R. 10104, as follows:
“The bill proposes to appropriate the sum of $5,000 to Barbara Healy, of Lowell, Mass., for damages on account of personal injuries received by the said Barbara Healy on June 15, 1937, in Lowell, Mass., when she was struck by a baseball bat which slipped from the hands of a player in a baseball game arranged for by a Works Progress Administration recreational project.
“On January 5, 1937, the city of Lowell submitted a project proposal to this Administration for a project to provide recreational instruction, through the employment of white-collar relief workers as instructors, to improve the leisure time of the unemployed and general public of Lowell, Mass. The project was subsequently approved by this Administration and the President, and was assigned official project No. 165-14-6999. One of the functions of the project was to assist the managers of local independent baseball teams in arranging a schedule and to umpire the games. The members of the teams were not employees of this Administration. The city of Lowell purchased necessary bats and baseballs for use in the games.
"On June 15, 1937, at about 7 p. m., a baseball game was in progress at the Walker Street Playground, Lowell, Mass., between the Highland Athletic Association and the Duffy Old Timers, team members of the Lowell Dover Square League; and an employee of the recreational project was umpiring the game. One of the players at bat missed a pitched ball; the bat slipped out of his hands and struck Barbara Healy, 16 years of age, who was watching the game.
"In view of the above facts, which clearly fail to establish any connection between the Government and the cause of the accident, this Administration strongly recommends against enactment of the proposed legislation. The player at bat was not an employee of this Administration and the bat used by him was supplied by the city of Lowell, Mass.
“Photostatic copies of pertinent papers from the files of this Administration are enclosed herewith."
As no connection existed between the cause of the accident and employees of the Federal Government, this Administration reiterates its recommendation against favorable action on the proposed legislation.
Photostatic copies of pertinent papers from the files of this Administration,
LOWELL, Mass., September – 1937. WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION,
- Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I am glad to give the following information concerning the ball game on June 15, 1937, at the Walker Street Playground at Lowell at which time Miss Barbara Healy was injured.
The teams playing were Duffy's Old Timers and the Highland team. These ball teams are members of the Lowell Dover Square W. P. A. League. I believe the W. P. A. recreational supervisors arranged the schedule for the games, supplied the balls and the bats, and umpired and supervised the games. The bat which I used when the accident occurred was a new one bought that afternoon by the W. P. A. supervisors and I feel the accident was caused because there was no tape on the handle of the bat. Usually bat handles are taped, but this bat handle was not taped. Respectfully,
THOMAS F. BOUDREAU, 1092 Middlesex Street, Lowell
, Mass. H. Repts., 79-1, vol. 1-24
To: John H. Morris.
This case was first reported by the Lowell Safety Department office, said report stating that the above mentioned person had been injured as the result of having been struck by a baseball bat on June 15, 1937, at 7 p. m. while attending a baseball game at the Walker Street Playground, sponsored by W. P. A. recreational project 12041.
The claimant, a 16-year-old high-school girl, was visited at her home on August 10, where she was confined to bed. She lives with her mother and father, the latter being a W. P. A. employee. She related that on the night of June 15, 1937, she was watching a baseball game at the Walker Street playground, standing behind the rope which divides the sidewalk on Walker Street and the playing field, somewhere between the home plate and third pase. Her recollection of the circumstances immediately preceding the accident was very vague. All that she remembered was that after she had been watching the game a short time, she was struck a heavy blow on the right side of the head by an unknown object, and immediately lapsed into unconsciousness. Mrs. Healy stated that the girl had been confined to bed since she came home from the hospital 4 weeks before, and was being attended by Dr. Sherman, Wyman's Exchange, Central and Merrimack Streets, Lowell.
Mr. Frank Corbett, director of recreational project 12441, who was contacted at his office in Lowell city hall on August 17, furnished the information that the baseball game at the Walker Street playground on the evening of June 15 between two independent teams was sponsored by the recreational project and was in charge of one Richard Hammer, who had since left the employ of the W. P. A.
Hammer was interviewed the same day at his home, 10 Middlesex Park, Lowell. About 25 years old, a former professional baseball player, he had been employed by the W. P. A. recreational project for about 2 years as a playground instructor, but had left this W. P. A. position about 3 weeks previous. He stated that he had been in charge of the game at the Walker Street playground on June 15, which began at 6 p. m. and was played by two local independent teams, the game having been sponsored by W. P. A. recreational project. The ages of the players taking part in this game were said to vary from 18 to 40. His account of the accident was as follows:
While one of the players was at bat in the fourth inning, he missed a pitched ball and in so doing lost control of the bat, which struck the Healy girl, who was standing behind the rope on the sidewalk on Walker Street about 25 feet away, on the right side of the head. He had not observed the girl until she had been struck. The incident happened so quickly, he stated, that there was no time to shout a warning. After rushing the girl to the hospital, he notified the project supervisor.
The Walker Street Playground is directly across the street from the Healy home. It is adjacent to the sidewalk, from which it is marked off by a rope. It is a small playground, the side along Walker Street not extending from than 175 feet. The sidewalk along Walker Street is only a few feet away from the baseball diamond. There are no seats for spectators. The only place available for spectators is along the sidewalk behind the rope which divides the sidewalk and playing field.
EDWARD J. CONLEY,
STATEMENT OF INJURED PARTY
On the night of June 15, 1937, I was watching a baseball game at the Walker Street playground. I was standin on the sidewalk behind the railing, about halfway between home plate and third base.
After I was there about 10 or 15 minutes, I was struck a violent blow on the right side of the head. I cannot remember whether I was looking at the batter at the time or not. I was told later that I was struck by a bat which flew from the hands of the player who was at bat at the time.
I lapsed into unconsciousness after having been struck and do not remember anything thereafter. I was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, where I was hospitalized for 4 weeks. Since coming home from the hospital 4 weeks ago, I have been confined to bed.
I have read the above statement to my daugher who says it is true to the best of her knowledge.
CATHERINE E. HEALY,
(Mother of Barbara Healy). August 10, 1937.
STATEMENT OF WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION WITNESS I, Richard Hammer, 10 Middlesex Park, Lowell, was in charge of the recreational project at Walker Street Playground, Lowell, on June 15, 1937.
There was a baseball game between the Highland Athletic Association and the Duffy Old Timers. This game started about 6 p. m. The ages of the players on these teams varied from 18 to 40.
Somewhere about the fourth inning, while Thomas Boudreau was at bat, the bat flew out of his hands when he missed a pitched ball, and struck a girl named Barbara Healy, almost 25 feet away.
The Healy girl was standing behind the railing along the sidewalk on Walker Street. I did not observe the girl until she had been struck. The bat struck her on the right side of the head. Even if she had seen the bat coming toward her, she would not have had time to get out of the way, it flew over so fast. She slumped to the ground on being hit. I immediately ran over to her. Blood was trebling from her right ear. We rushed her to St. Joseph's Hospital.
Richard A. HAMMER. AUGUST 17, 1937.
WARREN H. SHERMAN, M. D.,
Lowell, Mass., January 26, 1940. Claims Division,
House of Representatives, Was ngton, D. C. GENTLEMEN: Regarding Barbara Healy, who sustained a fractured skull from a baseball bat June 15, 1937. She attempted to resume her school work in the autumn of 1938. After 24 months she was obliged to give it up on account of her physical condition and has not been able to return since.
At the present time she is very nervous, is underweight, and is easily fatigued. She is unable to attend school or to do any work whereby she might gain a livelihood. Her present physical condition is attributable entirely to her injury. Yours truly,
WARREN H. SHERMAN, M. D.
WARREN H. SHERMAN, M. D.,
Lowell, Mass., April 14, 1938. This is to certify that Barbara Healy has been under my care since June 15, 1937, on which date she sustained a depressed comminuted fracture of the skuli on the right side of the head, back of and above the ear. One of the cracks went through the petrous portion of the bone causing rupture of the ear drum with hemorrhage from the ear. This injury was caused by a flying baseball bat striking her on the head. She has recovered from the physical injury but has been under my care for anemia and nervousness since that time. I advised her to remain out of high school for 1 year. Examination on this date shows the anemia to be improving but the nervousness still persisting.
WARREN H. SHERMAN. Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 14th day of April 1938. (SEAL)
RAYMOND D, O'BRIEN, Notary Public.
WARREN H. SHERMAN, M, D.,
Lowell, Mass., November 9, 1937. WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION,
Lowell, Mass. On June 15, 1937, Barbara Healy was hit on right side of head by a baseball bat. She received a depressed comminuted fracture of the skull, one of the cracks going through the petrous portion of the bone, with rupture of the ear drum and hemorrhage from the middle ear. She has recovered to quite an extent, but I have advised her not to return to school for a year.
WARREN H. SHERMAN, M. D.
APRIL 15, 1938. In Re: H, R. 10104.
I am submitting the expenses incurred as the result of the accident to my daughter, Barbara Healy, injured June 15, 1937, and on account of same was unable to attend high school, but we intend to start her in September 1938. Expenses: Dr. W. H. Sherman (to date)
$200.00 Dr. Archibald Gardner.
20.00 St. Joseph's Hospital.
97. 00 Ambulance service..
5. 00 Transportation in connection with accident.
Hospital bed (rented)
15. 00 20.00 25. 00 2. 00
1. 50 15. 00
Eye specialist, Dr. Brendan Leahey..
JAMES B. HEALY. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS,
Middlesex, 88: Subscribed and sworn to before me this 16th day of April 1938. (SEAL)
ARNOLD A. Bram, Notary Public.
Lowell, Mass., April 87, 1940. Hon. EDITH NOURSE ROGERS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR Mrs. ROGERS: At the request of Mr. James B. Healy of 267 Walker Street, Lowell, Mass., I have obtained a copy of the report of the city solicitor with reference to the Walker Street Playground, which copy I herewith enclose.
With reference to information requested in your letter to Mr. Healy under date of April 20, 1940, I am informed that the playground is owned by the Lowell Gas Light Co., and was not then and is not now an authorized ball field and ball park of the city of Lowell. The gas company allows the city to use it for this W. P. A. project.
I am also informed by Mr. Healy that at the time his daughter was injured, she had just crossed the street from her home to talk to some other girls on the other side and also to watch the game; that she had reached the sidewalk, and was talking to these girls, and had not yet had any opportunity to watch the game when she was injured.
I trust this information conforms with your desires, and I also hope that you will do everything in your power to have the bill successfully passed. Sincerely yours,
P. HAROLD RDADY.