Arroyo Grande pays off player in lights-out fly-ball injury claim

The city settled a claim by a center fielder who threatened to sue after a fly ball struck him in the eye during a sudden power outage at the Soto Sports Complex.

Chad Johnson of Arroyo Grande received an estimated $3,000 from the city for medical expenses and lost time from work, his attorney Daniel J. O’Neill said.

Johnson suffered facial injuries when the overhead lights went out at 10 p.m. on July 28, 2006, during an adult recreational league game, according to a claim seeking $20,000. The league contracts with the city to use the field.

“He saw the ball come off the bat, he saw it go up in the air, he moved in a position to get under the ball and then the lights went out and he couldn’t see it,” O’Neill said at the time.

Johnson’s nose and eyesocket were fractured, his vision was damaged and he was left with a scar on his face, O’Neill said.

The lawyer said it was the city’s fault the lights unexpectedly went off, not Pacific Gas and Electric Co. as the city had claimed.“There is no evidence of any (PG&E) power outages, which is the city’s explanation for why this occurred,” O’Neill said.

The city declined comment on the settlement and referred callers to city claims adjuster Jim Vossler, who said he could not comment.

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