BY TODD GLASENAPP Sun Correspondent
PAGE - Parties in a lawsuit that effectively shut down a popular Page softball tournament have reportedly reached a tentative settlement.
The settlement, stemming from a suit filed against the City of Page in county Superior Court in September 2002, reportedly includes a five-figure agreement for medical costs incurred by Richard Sawyer when he broke his ankle sliding into third base in the September 2000 Mr. Burffel's tournament.
The tentative agreement also relieves tournament organizer Ryan Warner of being named in the suit. Warner and his board cited the lawsuit last fall when the run of 25 annual Mr. Burffel's tournaments was stopped. The suit gained national attention with a paragraph and photo of Warner in the Dec. 15 issue of Newsweek.
"It's a huge relief," said Warner, who is a Page insurance agent. "I was getting tired of it, and I was ready to move on. I'm glad we'll be able to bring the tournament back. It's a good tournament and it's good for the city. I didn't want it to end on a sour note."
Warner said Thursday the 2004 tournament will be held Sept. 11-12 at the Page Sports Complex. He said the tourney will be revamped with an increased number of teams. And he said this year's accident waiver form will be "five pages long."
Attorneys for Sawyer and Mr. Burffel's would not comment on terms of the settlement but indicated they were satisfied with it.
"The resolution of the case is some indication that the case was reasonable," said Sawyer's attorney, Kevin Garrison, on Friday.
"The case was extremely poorly conceived and we are pleased that we won't have to defend Mr. Burffel's in court," said tournament attorney Donald Bayles of Aspey, Watkins & Diesel. "But if we had been required to do so, we would have been happy to do that."
Diane Bornschneir, a Valley attorney hired by the city to defend the case, did not return phone calls for comment.
Sawyer, playing for the Winslow team BoJo's, sustained a dislocated ankle and spiral fracture of the fibula when he slid into third base in a game Sept. 9, 2000.
The sports complex's rubberized bases fit over molded foundations and are designed to dislodge when impacted from the side. The basis of Sawyer's claim is that the breakaway base did not dislodge.
Source: Arizona Daily Sun, January 17, 2004. pg. A3
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