I have seen many bizarre lawsuits in my life, but the civil summons filed in Placer County recently against a 14 year old boy takes the cake. Joe Paris’s son was racing towards home plate to score the winning run during a Lakeside Little League baseball game last spring when the boy threw off his helmet in celebration. The helmet struck the Achilles tendon of Alan Beck, his little league coach, and tore it.

Now, Beck is suing the 14 year old for $500,000 in pain and suffering and $100,000 in lost wages and medical bills. It is interesting to note that Beck’s attorney, Gene Goldsman, has a somewhat colorful past according to the State Bar of California. Goldsman has twice been suspended by the state bar, in 1996 and 2001. This is the same guy who was quoted as saying, “I don’t think the boy meant to harm him. But, this wasn’t a part of the game. A guy who volunteers his time to coach should not be subjected to someone who throws a helmet in the manner he did. What the kid did, it crossed the line.”

A legal expert who spoke to the media about this case said he believes it is a stretch because of the inherent risk of being on a baseball field, where things are flying around all the time. Unless this case is settled, it will likely be heard by a judge in March. But even if the judge dismisses the case then, the boy’s father has already spent more than $4,000 to defend himself. This is just another example of the high costs created by California’s broken legal system, where plaintiffs sue knowing they have nothing to lose.

It would seem like Mr. Beck might want to re-think his strategy. He is a local businessman and he had a good reputation until he filed this lawsuit. I have some advice for Mr. Beck: drop the lawsuit. Suing a 14 year old is a complete foul.