Jury rules district wasn't negligent in North Mason High School pitcher's lawsuit
A Mason County jury ruled Wednesday afternoon that the North Mason School District was not negligent in pitching student Jason Koenig approximately...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Scores & stats
SHELTON — A Mason County jury ruled Wednesday afternoon that the North Mason School District was not negligent in pitching student Jason Koenig approximately 425 pitches in a 16-day period in 2001.
In a lawsuit that Koenig's attorney believes was unprecedented in the United States — and one Koenig hopes nudges the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) to re-evaluate its rules — Koenig sued the school district in April 2004 for negligence.
Koenig, now a 24-year-old photographer based in Seattle, pitched in 14 of North Mason High School's first 18 games in 2001. At the heart of his suit was a stretch from April 11 to April 27, when he pitched in all five of North Mason's games and threw approximately 425 pitches.
On April 27, he threw 140 pitches in a nine-inning loss to Yelm, two days after throwing two innings in a relief appearance. He didn't pitch again because of injuries to his right shoulder and elbow.
The WIAA mandates that pitchers rest for two days if they pitch for more than three innings. WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said he has not heard of any complaints regarding that rule.
Jay Hultberg was North Mason High School baseball coach, but was not named in the suit.
Lead juror Mary Newhall of Shelton said the jury, which deliberated for about two hours, did not believe Hultberg had enough information on the risk of high pitch counts at the time Koenig was injured.
Mark Dietzler, attorney for the school district, declined to comment and said the district would release a statement.
The defense argued that Hultberg did not violate the WIAA rules and that Koenig's involvement in summer and fall baseball programs contributed to his injury.
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