The accident at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville happened because a metal baseball bat was old and poorly maintained, says Fernando Gomez, vice chancellor and general counsel for the Texas State University System (TSUS). When a student swung the decrepit bat, the metal part of the bat detached from the rubber grip, flew 50 feet and shattered the face of a student.

When Gomez heard about the accident, which he says happened in the mid-1990s, he knew that TSUS could be liable for the injury. Under most circumstances, public universities in Texas are immune from tort suits, but Gomez knew that an exception applies when a public agency negligently supplies defective equipment.

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