French fries doused with oven cleaner were served to two patrons at a Hagerstown Suns game, the former owner of the minor-league baseball team has acknowledged.
Still to be determined in a lawsuit against the company is whether the ballpark visitors are due any compensation for what they claim were serious, permanent injuries to their mouths, throats and digestive tracts, the plaintiffs' lawyers said Friday.
Big Game Maryland LLC admitted in a stipulated agreement filed in Washington County Circuit Court Dec. 19 that it breached a duty owed to plaintiffs Stephen Parrotte and Brian L. Marquiss, both of Hagerstown.
"They were admitting they were negligent and that the negligence caused some harm. The issue will be the nature and extent of the injuries," said Parrotte's lawyer, Dennis F. O'Brien of Towson.
Marquiss' lawyer, Jay K. Reed of Hagerstown, said the plaintiffs hope to negotiate a settlement.
"We will meet with the court next week and pick dates to essentially try the damage portion of this case. As all these cases go, the parties will try to resolve that between themselves before we get to that point," Reed said.
Lawyers for Big Game Maryland didn't immediately return telephone calls from The Associated Press.
The case had been set for trial next week, but the date was canceled because of the defendant's concession.
The men, who are friends, claim they ordered vinegar on their fries at a game in Municipal Stadium on April 24, 2003, and instead were served fries inadvertently doused with oven cleaner from an unmarked plastic jug.
"It was an accident, but they served these people french fries with sodium hydroxide instead of vinegar," O'Brien said.
Big Game Maryland, a company formed by Big Game Capital of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, owned the club from 2001 to mid-2003, when it was sold to Mandalay Entertainment Group of Los Angeles. The Suns were affiliated with the San Francisco Giants at the time and are currently a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press