Sleeping Yankee Fan Sues ESPN For $10 Million Over Commentary


by Long Island Attorney Paul A. Lauto, Esq.

On April 13, 2014 the Yankees played the rival Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, as the game was broadcasted to millions by ESPN.  During the game a Yankee fan had fallen asleep in the second row, which caught the camera’s eye and some commentary.

Although to many the commentary seemed innocuous, the sleeping subject of the commentary had different feelings and has now filed a lawsuit in excess of $10 million dollars against ESPN, MLB, the Yankees and the announcers.  The damages claimed are for defamation and mental anguish caused to the claimant.

The Complaint filed in the Bronx Supreme Court, claims among other things, that “…verbal onslaughts crossed the line between reporting on sport and abuse against the plaintiff without reasonable cause or restraint, not just from the literal meaning of all the words or statements but from the unexpressed implications of the statements as well as the pictures and captions like ‘Sleeping Yankee fan cares not for your Rivalry Talk.’

Commentators in part referred to the sleeping fan as “oblivious,” said that the ballpark was “not the place you come to sleep” and wondered if he slept through the cheers of 45, 000 fans when Carlos Beltran had homered in the third inning.

This case has made people mindful of the Seinfeld episode, when a messy faced George Costanza was humiliated while caught on camera at the U.S. Open devouring an ice cream sundae.  The difference is that this real life episode, with the actual filing of a lawsuit for more than $10 million dollars, is no longer funny.  America was once known for “baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.”  Unfortunately, many now believe America to be more known for “baseball, apple pie and lawsuits.”

Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.

Paul A. Lauto, Esq.
Paul A. Lauto, Esq. completed his undergraduate studies at SUNY at Stony Brook in 1987, with a major in political science and a double minor in socio-legal studies and moral-legal issues in philosophy. Mr. Lauto received his Juris Doctor from New York Law School in 1990 and was admitted in 1991 to practice in the courts of New York State, as well as the Eastern and Southern Districts of the United States District Court.

Mr. Lauto has primarily focused on personal injury throughout his career and previously worked as in-house counsel to a major insurance company. In 2002 Mr. Lauto established Paul A. Lauto, PLLC, with a primary concentration on personal injury, all types of accident cases, Wills, Trusts and Estates and more. Paul is the sole author of his Scales of Justice blog, which provides updates and information about current legal stories in the news and how they may affect our lives. Mr. Lauto prides himself on providing clients maximum results, with a high level of personal attorney service and attention that is uncommon in the profession. For more information please visit