NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — The widow of former Major League pitcher and Northborough resident Mark Fidrych has filed a wrongful death suit against the maker and seller of the dump truck that Fidrych was working on when he was found dead in 2009 at age 54.
Fidrych died from accidental asphyxia by suffocation on April 13, 2009 after his clothing became entangled in the power takeoff shaft of his 1987 Mack Model 600, according to authorities.
The April 11 complaint was filed in Worcester Superior Court by lawyers for Fidrych's widow, Ann Pantazis, against Mack Trucks, Inc., Ballard Mack Sales and Service, Inc. and Morse Mack Sales, Inc. The former is based in Greensboro, N.C., while the latter two are based in Worcester.
Pantazis's lawyers, Ralph S. Sbrogna and Roger J. Brunelle, allege that the truck in question was "negligently designed, manufactured, marketed and sold [...] such that it was in a dangerous or defective condition when it was sold."
The suit seeks an unspecified monetary amount for wrongful death by negligent design and for Fidrych's "conscious pain and suffering."
In their reply, Mack Trucks, Inc. and Ballard Mack Sales and Service Inc. denied all charges, and argued that Fidrych's death was the result of his own negligence, which was greater than their own. William J. Dailey, the lawyer for the two companies, claimed that Fidrych "failed to give notice of breach of warranty." In addition, Morse Mack Sales, Inc. denied all charges and said that it had been dissolved on Oct. 10, 1989. Michael Garland, the company's lawyer, wrote that Fidrych "modified the Mack truck in question after sale" and used the truck "in an unreasonable manner."
All three defendants also argue that the suit is barred by statute of limitations.
No hearing dates have yet been set in this case.
Fidrych, who pitched for the Detroit Tigers, was named American League a Rookie of the Year in 1976. Injuries forced him to retire from professional baseball in 1983.