A Winnipeg teen and his parents are suing an amateur baseball league, saying their son was denied a chance to compete on a national level because of logistical problems caused by his severe allergies.
Paul Kraemer, 15, played on the AAA Bantam Winnipeg South Chiefs last year. The team won the city and provincial championships and headed to the nationals in Quebec City in August.
Kraemer suffers from severe allergies to nuts, nut oils and melons, and his parents wanted to make special arrangements for the time he travelled with the team.
His father, Jeffrey Kraemer, arranged to stay in a dormitory room at Laval University in Quebec City with the team, saying he would be responsible for his son's safety, according to the statement of claim filed in Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench on Jan. 2.
But team officials wouldn't allow the boy's father to stay in the dorm. During national tournaments, the team said, it wanted players to stay together without parents so they could bond as a team.
Team offered other options
A statement of defence has not yet been filed, but Ian Wise, president of the Winnipeg South Minor Baseball Association, told CBC News the team offered the Kraemers other options.
"It was felt that it was inappropriate for him to be with the players because all the other parents agreed that they would not attend," Wise said.
"We said, 'Well, if … you can't stay in the dorms, why don't you just stay with him in a hotel room? And once again, he refused that sort of option. We gave him a number of options. He refused every single other option that was available."
Wise said Kraemer threatened to sue the organizers of the tournament if his son had an allergic reaction or injury.
"He threatened legal action against the organizing committee, he threatened legal action against Manitoba Baseball, and he also threatened legal action against the Winnipeg South Minor Baseball Association," Wise said.
"We felt under those circumstances it became almost impossible for us to take on that degree of liability."
As a result, the team dropped Kraemer from its roster a week before the national tournament.
The teen's allergies were not responsible for his removal from the team roster, Wise said.
"From our perspective, whether he had allergies or not, it did not detract away from his ability to play," he said. "That will not detract from his ability to play on national tournaments."
Kraemer's parents are suing the association, its directors and the team's coach for unspecified damages on behalf of their son.
They are arguing that the decision to drop him from the team was not reasonable or justifiable, that the association did not have the authority to drop him from the team, and that it did not provide proper notice of the meeting at which they made the decision to do so.
The lawyer for the Kraemer family said they would not comment on the lawsuit at this time.